Benin to field candidate for ECOWAS secretary general

Cotonou- Benin (PANA) -- Benin's foreign affairs minister, Antoine Kolawole Idji, has announced the country's intention to vie for the position of secretary general of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) which falls vacant in September.
Kolawole told journalists in Cotonou that the candidate's name would be announced in due course.
Speaking on issues related to the African Union, the minister said implementation of the projects laid down for the new pan-African body would end conflicts and speed up development of the continent.
"Africans are becoming increasingly aware that their future is in their own hands", he said, observing that economic and political integration remains a prerequisite for the overall development of the continent.
Responding to a question on Benin's "notable absence" from sub-regional institutions, the minister said the role played by the country in African diplomacy should not be judged by the number of its nationals in top positions.
However, he added, Benin officials were present in various institutions and are "working very competently, though rather discreetly".
Idji described Benin as "a concrete and practical advocate of sub-regional integration.
" He said that it was the only country which has met all the criteria set by ECOWAS, notably on the payment of contributions and for the implementation of all ECOWAS programmes.

25 july 2001 11:25:00

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