ECOWAS, US begin talks on military assistance

Lagos- Nigeria (PANA) -- Discussions between a visiting US military delegation and ECOWAS officials entered their second day in Abuja Wednesday on the proposed establishment of a regional communication capability in West Africa.
The 10-man delegation from the US European Command with headquarters in Stuttgart and the US Embassy in Nigeria, arrived in the Nigerian capital Tuesday.
The two dides are discussing details of a regional communication system to be set up by the US government.
Outgoing ECOWAS Executive Secretary, Lansana Kouyate, briefed the delegation on the sub-regional body's efforts to promote peace and stability in the sub-region.
Kouyate called for US assistance in strengthening ECOWAS stand-by forces and providing logistical support for the establishment of an early warning system under its mechanism for conflict prevention.
The leader of the US delegation, Lt.
-Col Michael Solomon, expressed his team's willingness to work with ECOWAS in setting up the communication system.
It is envisaged that the communication system will facilitate peace-keeping operations in West Africa by providing vital communications links for the sub-region's peace and security observation system.
Under the observation system, the 15 member states are grouped into four zones with an observation and monitoring centre at the Secretariat in Abuja.
The zones are co-ordinated from Banjul, Gambia; Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), Cotonou (Benin) and Monrovia (Liberia).
The observation system, an "early warning" mechanism for conflict prevention in the sub-region, took off last year with funding from the European Union.

30 january 2002 22:13:00

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