Dakar, Senegal (PANA) - The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) should focus on its development objectives instead of managing political crises, its chairman, Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara, has said.
Speaking at Thursday's extraordinary summit of the 15-member bloc in Dakar, Senegal, called to discuss the situation in Guinea-Bissau and Mali, President Ouattara said "political crisis management must be replaced by the achievement of objectives assigned to ECOWAS ".
He said the regional grouping should be engaged in building roads and schools, and improving the living conditions of the people in the region.
"We want an ECOWAS of peoples. There can be no development without peace and stability. If the political situation in Mali is not resolved, it will threaten the whole Sahel-Saharan Africa," he warned.
Mali and Guinea-Bissau have been in crisis since soldiers toppled the constitutional order in both ECOWAS member states in March and April respectively.
ECOWAS was established in 1975 to promote economic integration in the sub-region, but has increasingly been called upon to help resolve political crises in member states, thus distracting it from its core objectives.
Some 10 Presidents, one Prime Minister as well as a foreign minister and an Ambassador represented the member states at the emergency meeting.
The African Union (AU), West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), UN, EU,
Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP), Algeria, Austria, France, Germany, Portugal, UK and the US were also represented.
-0- PANA SIL/JSG/JEN/SEG 4May2012