The ECOWAS has given Gambian incumbent President Yahya Jammeh a final opportunity to relinquish power after Senegalese troops entered his country.
Yahya Jammeh has been given until noon on January 20 to leave office or be forced out by UN-backed regional forces.
Troops have been told to halt their advance until the deadline passes.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is acting in support of Adama Barrow, who was sworn in as the new Gambian president on January 19.
Adama Barrow’s legitimacy as president, after winning last month’s election, has been recognized internationally.
Last-ditch mediation talks, led by Guinea’s President Alpha Conde, were due today. Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz is on his way to Banjul, and Alpha Conde is reported to be with him.
Chairman of the ECOWAS commission, Marcel Alain de Souza, said that if the meeting with Alpha Conde proved unsuccessful, military action would follow.
“If by midday, he [Yahya Jammeh] doesn’t agree to leave The Gambia under the banner of President Conde, we really will intervene militarily,” Marcel Alain de Souza said.
ECOWAS said that its forces had encountered no resistance after entering The Gambia on January 19.
Troops from Senegal and other West African countries crossed into The Gambia after an initial deadline for Yahya Jammeh to stand down passed without his resignation.
Adama Barrow, who remains in Senegal, has said that he will not return to Gambia’s capital, Banjul, until the military operation has ended.
The threat by the West African regional bloc ECOWAS to remove Yahya Jammeh by force is supported by the 15-member UN Security Council, although the council has stressed that a political solution should be the priority.
In his inaugural speech at the Gambian embassy in Senegal’s capital, Dakar, President Adama Barrow ordered all members of The Gambia’s armed forces to remain in their barracks.
Any found illegally bearing arms would be considered “rebels”, he said.
Amid the crisis, the UN refugee agency reported that more than 45,000 people had fled The Gambia for Senegal so far in 2017.
More people could leave if the situation was not resolved, the UNHCR said.
After first accepting defeat in the election Yahya Jammeh reversed his position and said he would not step down. He declared a 90-day state of emergency, blaming irregularities in the electoral process.
The electoral commission accepted that some of its early results had contained errors but said they would not have affected Adama Barrow’s win.
Yahya Jammeh has said he will stay in office until new elections are held.
Remaining in power would also give Yahya Jammeh protection against prosecution for alleged abuses committed during his rule.
Gambian President Yahya Jammeh’s term has been extended by 90 days after the parliament declared a state of emergency in the crisis-hit West African country.
Yahya Jammeh’s term is due to end on January 19 following his defeat in elections by Adama Barrow.
Regional leaders have threatened to use military force to oust Yahya Jammeh if he refuses to hand power to President-elect Adama Barrow tomorrow.
Thousands of tourists are being evacuated from The Gambia.
The Gambia is popular with European holidaymakers because of its beaches.
The country was plunged into crisis after Yahya Jammeh rejected Adama Barrow’s shock victory in the December 1st election.
In a TV announcement on January 17, the outgoing president said: “Any acts of disobedience to the laws of The Gambia, incitement of violence and acts intended to disturb public order and peace were banned under the state of emergency.”
Yahya Jammeh said security forces were instructed to “maintain absolute peace, law and order”.
The US State Department urged Yahya Jammeh to transfer power to Adama Barrow on January 19.
Spokesman John Kirby said: “Doing so would allow him to leave office with his head held high and to protect The Gambian people from potential chaos.
“Failure to do so will put his legacy, and more importantly The Gambia, in peril.”
Regional bloc ECOWAS (the Economic Community of West African States), has prepared a Senegal-led force to oust Yahya Jammeh if he refuses to step down.
The African Union has warned that it will not recognize Yahya Jammeh as president after January 19.
Adama Barrow, a property developer, has been in Senegal since January 14. His aides said he would return to The Gambia for his inauguration.
Last month, Adama Barrow said he would be sworn in at a ceremony organized by his transition team, raising the possibility of two rival presidents.
Yahya Jammeh’s declaration of a state of emergency was seen as an attempt to block the ceremony, scheduled to take place at a stadium in Bakau town, west of the capital Banjul, from going ahead.
Adama Barrow could, technically, also be sworn in at The Gambian embassy in Senegal.
Thousands of Gambians, including women and children, have been fleeing to Senegal and further afield to Guinea-Bissau, fearing unrest.
Yahya Jammeh has ruled The Gambia since taking power in a bloodless coup in 1994.
The Gambia regularly held elections, which he won until his shock defeat in the latest poll.
Yahya Jammeh has said there were irregularities in the election process, including the turning away of some of his supporters from polling stations, and errors made by the electoral commission.
The commission accepted that some of the results it initially published contained errors, but said Adama Barrow had still won.
Yahya Jammeh has said he will stay in office until new elections are held.
Retaining power would also ensure Yahya Jammeh was not prosecuted in The Gambia for alleged abuses committed during his rule.
The assets of General Gilbert Diendere, the leader of Burkina Faso’s failed coup, have been frozen by state prosecutors.
Another 13 people suspected of involvement have also had their assets frozen, the state prosecutor says.
Interim President Michel Kafando was reinstated on September 23 after an intervention from the army and West African leaders following last week’s coup.
On September 25, Michel Kafando’s government ordered the presidential guards’ unit that carried out the coup to be disbanded.
At least 10 people were killed and more than 100 injured in clashes during the take-over which Gilbert Diendere described as “the biggest mistake”.
In a statement announcing the latest move, state prosecutor Laurent Poda said that the assets of 14 people, including Gen. Gilbert Diendere and his wife Fatou Diendere, a lawmaker for the former ruling party, would be frozen for three months.
During this period, they would only be able to withdraw 300,000 CFA ($512) a month.
On September 25, the first full meeting of the government since Michel Kafando’s reinstatement decided to disband the presidential guard (RSP) and to dismiss the minister in charge of security.
The RSP – a unit of 1,200 well-armed and well-trained men – is loyal to Blaise Compaore, the country’s long-time ruler who was ousted in a popular uprising last year. They were unhappy about being integrated into the regular army.
Members of the unit stormed the cabinet room on September 16, seizing the interim president, the prime minister and others.
A week later, when it became clear they did not enjoy popular support and after a threat from the regular army to step down or be ousted by force, the RSP withdrew.
An emergency meeting of the regional bloc ECOWAS earlier in the week also helped to bring a smooth end to the crisis.
Blaise Compaore is currently in exile and was accused of committing widespread abuses, and trying to change the constitution to extend his term in office.
Burkina Faso’s army has arrived in the country’s capital, Ouagadougou, seeking the surrender of coup leader, General Gilbert Diendere.
Negotiations between army chiefs and the presidential guard have stalled, a senior military officer said.
Troops are moving through the capital, as the deadline to Gen. Gilbert Diendere to surrender passed.
Gilbert Diendere staged a coup last week after opposing moves to integrate the presidential guard into the army.
He has released the president and the prime minister, following talks brokered by mediators.
The coup has been widely condemned, with the African Union suspending Burkina Faso’s membership.
Gilbert Diendere says he will step aside once regional leaders, due to meet in Nigeria, endorse a peace plan, including an amnesty for coup plotters.
Burkina Faso’s PM Isaac Zida was captured by the presidential guard in last week’s coup.
France’s ambassador to Burkina Faso, Gilles Thibault, has also tweeted that interim President Michel Kafando, who was arrested on September 16, has been released from house arrest and is now at the ambassador’s residence.
Speaking from a secret location, Gen. Gilbert Diendere said: “Ready to surrender? We are not there yet… We wish to continue the discussions and we say to all that we are ready to implement Ecowas’ [West African regional group’s] decisions.”
He also apologized to the population, saying an apology was “the least we could do”.
The Ecowas plan should be discussed by West African heads of state in Nigeria on September 22.
The presidential guard is loyal to ousted President Blaise Compaore and installed Gen. Gilbert Diendere as the new leader last week.
Since then, at least 10 people have been killed and more than 100 injured in clashes.
Burkina Faso’s army ordered the presidential guard to disarm before it marched on the capital.
“We must now secure the surrender of the [coup leaders] without gunfire or bloodshed,” Col. Serge Alain Ouedraogo, of the Burkinabe police, told AFP.
Ecowas’ plan includes the return to civilian government, an amnesty for the soldiers behind the coup and elections by the end of November.
Gilbert Diendere, who was the chief of staff to Blaise Compaore, led the coup a month before elections had been due in Burkina Faso.