Chambas says ECOWAS not yet mobilising troops for Liberia

Abuja- Nigeria (PANA) -- The sub-regional group ECOWAS has not commenced the process of mobilising troops for deployment to Liberia, which is battling rebels of the self-styled Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD), Executive Secretary Mohammed Ibn Chambas said.
"(ECOWAS) has not decided to mobilise troops for Liberia," Chambas told journalists in Abuja Monday, during a press conference to commemorate the 27th anniversary of the 15-nation group.
As part of efforts to resolve the crisis, he said ECOWAS was pursuing the realisation of measures agreed upon during a recent meeting of heads of state of the council in Yamoussoukro, Cote d'Ivoire.
The ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) leaders on 17 May called for a cease-fire between government and LURD as well as political dialogue among all interest groups as a way of achieving permanent peace in the country.
Presidents Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal and Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria were mandated by the meeting to work out ways of achieving the decisions.
Speaking on the achievements of ECOWAS in the last 27 years, the Chambas said it had been able to initiate and execute a number of activities to foster unity and development in the sub-region.
He cited immigration, trade, monetary, air transport, maritime transport, telecommunications, energy, environment, health, education as well as peace and security.
Chambas noted specifically that West Africa is the only region in the continent where people can move freely without visa.
"Our protocols also provide for the right of residence and establishment," he said.
The ECOWAS executive also said, "a programme of action has been drawn-up for the creation of a West African common market to boost trade among member states.
" But he said the realisation of that goal had been hampered by the difficulties in implementing the trade liberalisation scheme and the slow pace in the establishment of a customs union.
Other achievements he highlighted include the creation of a second monetary zone in 2003 in the sub-region, as a move towards the achievement of a unified monetary zone in 2004.
He also said the private sector-driven ECO Air project was progressing steadily, with the support of ECOWAS.
Chambas said financial and feasibility studies on the project had been concluded and technical partners identified, while promoters have started mobilising the capital required for its take off.

28 may 2002 09:28:00

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