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The United States has urged the outgoing Gambian President Yahya Jammeh to “peacefully hand over power” to his elected successor Adama Barrow, to prevent “potential chaos” in the small West African country. Despite being increasingly isolated and facing escalating international pressure, Jammeh declared a state of emergency just two days before he was due to step down tomorrow, denouncing what he called dangerous foreign meddling in the small West African country’s post-electoral crisis.
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“President Jammeh is losing opportunities to respect the word of the Gambian people and to peacefully hand over power to the president-elect,” said US State Department spokesman John Kirby. “Doing so would allow him to leave office with his head held high and to protect the Gambian people from potential chaos,” the US spokesman said.
“Failure to do so will put his legacy, and more importantly the Gambia, in peril.” The country has been in political turmoil since Jammeh, just a week after conceding defeat, declared that he no longer accepted the results of the election. That announcement upended hopes for a peaceful political transition after his 22 years in power. “We want to see the president-elect properly installed and to have in place a government which is responsible for and responsive to the needs of the Gambian people,” Kirby said. The White House initially welcomed the outgoing president’s acknowledgement of his successor’s victory, and then sharply criticised the longtime Gambian leader’s reversal.