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Stalled on Mali Coup, ECOWAS Decay Bemoaned at UN, Gambari Last African?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 16 -- "Obasanjo used to get in this plane and go tell people what they had to do," a old ECOWAS hand complained to Inner City Press on Thursday, referring to what he called Nigeria's declining power, including in the West African States regional group ECOWAS.

  "Now Goodluck Jonathan is distracted so Burkina Faso is trying to pick up the slack," he continued. "But just look at it, the decay. The people in Mali, they aren't scared of ECOWAS."

  And in Guinea Bissau, ECOWAS has a showdown with the Portuguese-speaking states, particularly Angola. Watch for another coup d'etat, the complaining oracle concluded, shaking his head.

  In Mali the fear is that interim President Dioncounda Traore has promised Cheikh Modibo Diarra some high-profile position.

  While France when it took over the presidency of the Security Council 16 days ago vowed to take action on Mali, at last stakeout Ambassador Gerard Araud told Inner City Press ECOWAS still hasn't come in with the needed information, approvals or any request for funds.

  Meanwhile at the African Union level there is concern that Ibrahim Gambari, just unceremoniously ousted from the top job at the Darfur peacekeeping mission, might not be replaced by an African.

  "Look at the UN Missions in West Africa," a AU diplomat told Inner City Press, using Bert Koenders in Cote d'Ivoire as the example, while citing Liberia and Sierra Leone. "All Europeans. South Sudan too. And now Darfur?" Is Gambari the last of the UN Africans? Watch this site.

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