Reuters

By Michelle Nichols | UNITED NATIONS

The United Nations Security Council is set to vote later Thursday on a Senegalese draft resolution that would back efforts by West African regional bloc ECOWAS to ensure Gambian President Yahya Jammeh hands over power to his successor, diplomats said.

Senegal has deployed hundreds of soldiers to its shared border with Gambia, and Nigeria has pre-positioned war planes and helicopters after ECOWAS said it would remove Jammeh if he did not hand over power to challenger Adama Barrow, who won an election in early December.

The draft U.N. resolution would express the Security Council’s “full support to ECOWAS in its commitment to ensure the respect of the will of the people of Gambia as expressed in the results of 1st December elections.”

Diplomats said the 15-member council was likely to adopt the draft resolution with broad support.

The draft text asks Jammeh to hand over power and “calls upon the countries in the region and the relevant regional organisation to cooperate with President Barrow in his efforts to realise the transition of power.”

It also asks “the Gambian defence and security forces to demonstrate maximum restraint to maintain an atmosphere of calm in Gambia and stresses their duty and obligation to place themselves at the disposal of the democratically elected authorities.”

Both ECOWAS and the African Union have said they will recognise Barrow as president from Thursday.

(Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)