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Last Updated: Saturday, 12 February, 2005, 02:54 GMT
Togo summoned for talks on 'coup'
Togolese Communications Minister Pitang Tchalla under portrait of new leader Faure Gnassingbe
The new government said Ecowas had misunderstood its intentions
West African states have threatened Togo with sanctions if its new leaders fail to attend talks on Saturday on what they describe as last week's coup.

They also demand an apology for what they say was Togo's undignified treatment of Nigeria after its officials were turned away on Friday.

Faure Gnassingbe took power in Togo after the death of his father Eyadema.

He imposed tight controls on dissent after MPs hastily amended the constitution to allow him to rule.

Ecowas, the 15-member Economic Community of West African States, denounced the move as a coup, using unusually forthright terms, the BBC's Grant Ferrett reports.

If Mr Gnassingbe's government fails to turn up for the talks in Niger's capital, Niamey, it faces immediate expulsion from Ecowas as well as the unspecified sanctions.

Flight dispute

Anger grew within Ecowas after Togo's leader refused to meet for emergency talks in the Togolese capital, Lome. Instead, he suggested they convene in the north of the country.
Anti-government demonstrators in Lome on 11 February
Protests have erupted despite a ban on rallies

Nigeria has been particularly annoyed by what it says was the refusal of Togo to grant entry to a team of its officials and it is recalling its ambassador in protest.

Ecowas said in a statement that it again requested Mr Gnassingbe's government to "reverse their unconstitutional acts".

The new government is being summoned to Niamey to meet President Tandja Mamadou, who currently chairs Ecowas.

On Friday, it said it had been ready to receive Ecowas leaders in the northern town of Kara, closer to his home than Lome, and would "welcome or meet any friends of Togo".

Faure Gnassingbe spent several hours with his officials in the town on Friday, waiting for the leaders of Benin, Ghana, Mali, Niger and Nigeria to arrive.

The Ecowas leaders cancelled the trip after a Nigerian advance party was refused permission to land in Lome.

Togolese Information Minister Pitang Tchalla denied the aviation authorities had turned back the plane, saying it had simply been asked to divert to Kara.


Police used tear gas to break up a sit-in protest by the opposition in Lome on Friday.

Military police closed down at least one private radio station, Lumiere, accusing it of "incitement to revolt and hatred".

Protests against the new government are due to continue in the capital on Saturday, with a peaceful march called by the opposition in defiance of a new ban on rallies.

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