'ECOWAS crisis-response mechanisms need re-examination'

Lagos, Nigeria (PANA) - ECOWAS Commission President Kadre Ouedraogo has said the complexity of emerging crises in West Africa, such as in Mali and Guinea Bissau, requires the re-examination of regional response mechanisms for effective tackling of the structural causes of instability in the region and their ramifications.

“We must re-interrogate the structure of regional peace and security in relation to preventive diplomacy, sanction regime, and the response capacities and the transport strategies,” President Ouedraogo said at the opening of the 30th Ordinary session of the ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council in Abuja, Nigeria, Monday.

He highlighted the progress made in Mali, the most recent being the July 2013 transformation of the African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA) into the UN Multi-dimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission (MINUSM, following tireless efforts and decisions by the Council and regional leaders in collaboration with the African Union and the UN.

The ECOWAS Commission President also recalled the protracted and difficult process of negotiations that followed the mobilisation and deployment of AFISMA and expressed gratitude to the ECOWAS Chairman, President Alassane Ouattara of Cote d’Ivoire, the Regional Mediator on Mali, President Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso, and the deputy Mediator, President
Goodluck Ebele Jonathan of Nigeria.

On Guinea Bissau, he said the presidential election fixed for 24 Nov. 2013 marks the end of the first phase of the transition process being facilitated by ECOWAS in that country.

The resolution of these crises, said the president, have also made it possible to focus on the issues of extremism and terrorism, piracy and other maritime crimes, as well as drugs, arms and human trafficking in the region.

To this end, he recalled that the Council had adopted the ECOWAS Anti-terrorism Strategy at its meeting in Yamoussoukro last February, followed in June 2013 with the adoption of important strategic documents against piracy and other transnational crimes in the Gulf of Guinea by the leaders of ECOWAS and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) in Yaoundé, Cameroon.

The President also urged the Council to deliberate on the legislative elections planned for 25 July 2013 in Togo and September 2013 in Guinea  following difficult processes of dialogue in both countries.

He reminded the Council, made up of Foreign Ministers, that the region has a responsibility to provide necessary support for peaceful, free, fair and transparent elections and the restoration of constitutional order in the two ECOWAS Member States.

In opening remarks, Council chairman and Cote d’Ivoire’s Foreign Minister Charles Koffi Diby urged the session to come up with concrete recommendations for the consolidation of the successes achieved towards the restoration of constitutional rule and democracy in Mali and Guinea Bissau.

He commended the international community, particularly the African Union, UN, Chad, France and others, for supporting ECOWAS in finding solutions to the regional crises, noting that the 13 July entry of Malian troops into the country’s northern city of Kidal, previously held by the rebels, should pave way for free, fair and transparent elections on 28 July.

The Council meeting will feed into a two-day ECOWAS mid-year Summit beginning Wednesday also in Abuja.
-0- PANA SEG 15July2013

15 july 2013 18:04:02

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