Chambas Assumes Post of ECOWAS Executive Secretary

Abuja- Nigeria (PANA) -- Newly-appointed Executive Secretary of ECOWAS, Mohamed Ibn Chambas of Ghana, assumed office at the organisation's Secretariat in Abuja Wednesday with a pledge to consolidate the work of his predecessor for the realisation of the Community's objectives.
"The task is mapped out for us.
It will not be an easy challenge, but I am inspired by the achievements of my predecessor.
and deeply motivated by my interaction (with the top officials of the Secretariat)," said Chambas.
The 51-year-old Ghanaian, who was elected for four years at the last ECOWAS Summit in Dakar, Senegal in December, spoke after a brief hand-over ceremony where he and his predecessor, Guinean diplomat Lansana Kouyate, exchanged signed documents, to an applause from the few staffers who witnessed the 30-minute ceremony.
Since arriving in the Nigerian capital last Thursday, Chambas has held a series of meetings with Kouyate and other top officials of the 26-year-old organisation.
He described the transition as "very smooth.
characterised by warmth, openness, transparency and very detailed briefings about the Secretariat and the numerous initiatives by ECOWAS.
" Chambas, a former Deputy Foreign Minister, hailed Kouyate for providing "leadership of dynamism and vision" to the 15-member organisation in the last four years.
He said Kouyate had put the West African sub-region on a firm road toward deepening co-operation and integration, adding: "He (Kouyate) is leaving a deep imprint of his leadership on the organisation.
" The Ghanaian lawyer also praised the immediate past Chairman of ECOWAS, President Oumar Alpha Konare of Mali, and President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria for providing leadership to the organisation.
Giving an insight into the next four years, Chambas said ECOWAS staff would work hard to "ensure that we don't lose the momentum, improve on past performance and see to it that the many brilliant initiatives and protocols are turned into reality for the benefit of our people.
" He talked about strengthening of integration and co-operation efforts, harmonising policies and economic reforms, making the second monetary zone a reality, so as to quicken the emergence of a common currency in West Africa and maintaining the relative peace and stability in the sub-region.
"The 1990s were characterised by one of the bloodiest civil wars in the sub-region.
Fortunately, we have brought most of the wars under control," Chambas said.
He called for the consolidation of the peace process in Sierra Leone, with the successful conclusion of the disarmament process and to deepen reconciliation efforts in Liberia and Guinea.
"We must work hard and ensure that peace in Liberia is maintained, bring stability to the Mano River area so we can focus on the socio-economic development of our sub-region which, afterall, was the original purpose (of ECOWAS)," Chambas said.

06 february 2002 15:23:00

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