'ECOWAS, partners make irreversible progress in Mali'

Abuja, Nigeria (PANA) - ECOWAS and the international community have made irreversible progress in Mali by freeing the north of the country from the grip of terrorists and securing its territorial integrity, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo, has affirmed.

Speaking at an interactive session between management and staff of the Commission in Abuja on Friday, Ouédraogo said that “things are moving well” with the terrorists now overrun to the point that they will no longer be able to regroup, thanks to the intervention by France and the international community.

He also lauded ECOWAS’ troop contributing member States as well as Chad, the African Union, the UN and other partners for supporting the regional initiative by raising the Africa-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA), which is expected to transform into a 12,800-strong Multi-dimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission (MINUSMA) by 1 July, 2013.

The ECOWAS Commission president equally expressed his optimism on the ECOWAS-supported defence and security sector reforms in Guinea Bissau ahead of planned elections in the country in December this year, adding that the Commission was also following with keen interest pre-election activities in Guinea and Togo.

He reiterated the priorities of his management team at the Commission to include addressing peace and security challenges, accelerating community integration with emphasis on the effective implementation of the regional protocol on free movement of persons, rights of residence and establishment, and development of infrastructure - roads, railways, air transportation, energy and telecommunications, among others, to make the region more competitive.

The other priorities, the president said, were food security, development of human resources, through youth training and empowerment to enable them contribute meaningfully to regional development, as well as capacity building and institutional reforms both at the Commission and the other Community institutions for improved performance.

He also reminded the staff that ECOWAS would be marking its 38th anniversary this year, while the African Union would be celebrating 50 years of the founding of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), two celebrations that are of significance to the region and the continent.

The president, who later fielded questions from staff members ranging from the institutional reforms to staff welfare, also used the opportunity to reiterate the open-door policy of his management team, which he said was anchored on sincere dialogue.

The management pledged to make the interactive session regular with a view to boosting the sharing of information and effective communication that will assist the Commission in delivering on its mandate to the community.
-0- PANA VAO 11May2013

11 may 2013 08:36:56

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