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Last Updated: Friday, 27 May, 2005, 19:19 GMT 20:19 UK
African Union lifts Togo embargo
By Elizabeth Blunt
BBC News

Togo's President Faure Gnassingbe (centre)
Mr Gnassingbe (centre) was elected president in the 24 April poll
The African Union has lifted the sanctions it imposed on Togo after President Gnassingbe Eyadema died and his son was installed to succeed him.

It marks Togo's full rehabilitation within the African continent.

Similar sanctions imposed by the regional body, Ecowas, were removed after the late president's son agreed to fight a leadership election.

Three months after the union's sanctions were imposed, their removal had become a mere formality.

Fair elections

The Ecowas sanctions, imposed by Togo's West African neighbours, were lifted as soon as Faure Gnassingbe left the presidency, and Togo agreed to choose a new leader according to its constitution.

The African Union sanctions were imposed in support of Ecowas, but since its peace and security council meets more rarely, it has taken until now for the sanctions to be removed.

The main effect will be that Togo is once again free to take part in African Union activities.

Meanwhile events have moved on in Togo. The elections were held, and Mr Gnassingbe is once again president, this time as an elected leader.

There were loud complaints that the elections were rigged, but Ecowas observers decided that the vote met international standards.

West African leaders have welcomed Mr Gnassingbe as the newest member of their club.

But the dubious election has not satisfied everyone.

Most importantly the European Union has reacted coolly to Mr Gnassingbe's election and has given no sign of lifting its economic sanctions, which have had a serious impact on Togo's prosperity.


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