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Call for talks to end Gambian deadlock

The winner of December’s presidential election in The Gambia says is confident he will be sworn in next week despite President Yahya Jammeh’s refusal to give up power.

“It will go ahead… I will be the president on the 19th,” Adama Barrow said.

He called on Mr Jammeh to engage in direct talks.

Mr Jammeh’s term officially ends next Wednesday. He has challenged the election results in court.

Foreign leaders from regional bloc Ecowas are due to arrive later in The Gambia to again try to persuade Mr Jammeh to step down on schedule.

The grouping has warned that it will consider removing him using military force if he refuses.

Mr Barrow, a property developer, said he was calling on Mr Jammeh to “respect the constitution”.

“We solve our problems within ourselves without the intervention of anybody. I think that’s what we’d prefer,” he said.

He said direct talks between the two men could be a way to resolve the tense situation in the tiny West African nation.

A lawyer for Mr Jammeh on Thursday filed a request with the Supreme Court asking for an injunction to block Mr Barrow’s swearing-in.

The former coup leader, who has ruled for 22 years, had originally accepted the shock result of last month’s election but later rejected it after the election commission changed some results.

Mr Barrow won 43.3% of the vote compared with Mr Jammeh’s 39.6%. A third candidate, Mama Kandeh, got 17.1%.

On Thursday Nigerian MPs in the lower house of parliament voted to grant Mr Jammeh asylum if he gave up power.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari is spearheading Ecowas’ efforts to persuade Mr Jammeh to stand down.

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