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Togo gives up hosting the ECOWAS summit set to announce Morocco’s accession

Togo has given up on hosting the ECOWAS summit scheduled for the 16th of December. The political tensions that have shaken the country for the last couple of months have certainly pushed President Faure Gnassingbé towards this decision. Instead, the meeting will be held in Abuja, the political and administrative capital of Nigeria, where several officials have opposed Morocco’s bid to join the regional organization.

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The next ECOWAS summit will not take place in Lome. Instead, the meeting will be held in Abuja, at the headquarters of the Economic Community of West African States. The decision was announced after Togolese president Faure Gnassingbé and his Nigerian counterpart, Muhammadu Buhari held talks in the Nigerian capital. This change is not affecting the date of the summit which is still scheduled for December the 16th.

In front of the media, the two heads of State did not explain the reasons behind this change, prefering to address other topics. «We also reviewed the security situation in our sub-region and these range from the situation in Liberia, Guinea-Bissau and Togo», Buhari told journalists, as reported by Premium Times, a local online newspaper in Nigeria.

For his part, Faure Gnassingbé focused on the «reforms» affecting the economic organization. ECOWAS «used to have 15 commissioners and now scaled down to 9 commissioners for efficiency and cost efficiency», he said.

Annulling the African-Israel summit

This change is certainly due to the situation in Lome where the opposition have strongly demanded a real political change, ending the two presidential terms of Gnassingbé. The family has ruled the country since 1967, first under the control of Gnassingbé Eyadema. Once the father died in 2005, his son Faure had been proclaimed head of State. His third term as head of the country is set to end in 2020.

Moreover, this is not the first time that the political situation in Togo impacts the holding of an international meeting that Lome was to host. The African-Israeli summit scheduled for October 2017 in the Togolese capital was canceled in September. The meeting supposed to be attended by Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu and representatives from 54 African countries, was put off.

Togo’s president, who has been facing mass demonstrations against his regime, has informed Israel's Netanyahu hence that he had canceled the Africa-Israel summit. However, two months later no news on the matter have been released.

This change comes as several Nigerian officials have announced that they are against Morocco’s bid to join the ECOWAS. They have been campaigning for months against the admission of the Kingdom to the regional grouping.

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