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Last Updated: Friday, 25 February, 2005, 18:29 GMT
AU calls for wider Togo sanctions
The African Union has suspended Togo from the pan-African body, calling for sanctions against the country to be endorsed across the continent.

The moves follow growing international anger at Togo's military-installed leader, who took power hours after his father's death earlier this month.

Faure Gnassingbe has pledged to hold presidential elections but has rebuffed calls to step aside immediately.

The AU urged Mr Faure to restore constitutional order by stepping down.

The calls from the 53-member union echo those of the European Union and the US as well as African regional body, Ecowas.

Thrown out

Delegates from the AU made the decision to suspend Togo at a meeting in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

"The Council call for the restitution of constitutional order in the country, that is for Faure Gnassingbe to leave office," said Said Djinnit, the body's commissioner for peace and security.

People protest in the Togolese capital, Lome
Both sides have been protesting on the streets of Lome
The AU also voted to endorse sanctions already imposed by Ecowas and said all its member states should ensure they enforce the measures.

Togo's ambassador, Koffi Esaw, was asked to leave the meeting after the vote.

He defended his country's decision to hand power to Mr Faure, whose father, Eyadema Gnassingbe, had ruled the country for 38 years.

"I totally agree with how the power was handed over to the new president because we were facing a very dangerous situation," he said.

"There was the prospect of unrest and the only way to avoid the unrest was to take the action we did."

Discontent

Although Mr Faure has promised elections within 60 days, as stipulated by the constitution, this has done little to quell discontent from African neighbours and beyond.

The AU said any future elections would not be legitimate as the country's constitution had been violated.

Constitutional amendments swiftly introduced to legitimise Mr Faure's appointment have since been partly reversed. Togo says he is now legally the interim president.

Late on Friday, the country's ruling party nominated Mr Faure as its new candidate for the presidential election.

In a effort to bolster his position before the talks, Mr Faure visited Gabon late on Thursday and then flew to Libya where he met leader Muammar Gaddafi.




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