ECOWAS ministers welcome AFISMA transformation

Abuja, Nigeria (PANA) - ECOWAS Ministers of Foreign Affairs have welcomed the 1 July “smooth transformation” of the African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA) into a UN Mission, MINUSMA, and appealed for international support for political transition in Mali and Guinea-Bissau.

In their recommendations after a one-day meeting in Abuja on Monday, the ministers - who met under the aegis of the Mediation and Security Council - also extended the mandate of the ECOWAS Mission in Guinea Bissau (ECOMIB) by another 12 months ending 16 May 2014.

They urged the UN “to further strengthen cooperation with African partners in the stabilisation of the security and political situation in Mali” and appealed to the donor community to provide urgent additional financial support and relief supplies in response to the humanitarian crisis that followed the April 2012 military coup in the country and rebel insurrection in the north.

The Council expressed gratitude to all partners, in particular, the African Union, US, EU and the neigbouring countries, for their cooperation, in particular, the intelligence, financial, logistical
and political support to the peace efforts in Mali, as well as to France and Chad.

The ministers expressed deep appreciation to AFISMA leadership and its rank and file, and paid homage to officers and men of the force, who “paid the ultimate price in the line of duty in Mali.”  

They urged the ECOWAS Commission to take steps to decorate the AFISMA service personnel, and to expedite a review of the ECOWAS Peace and Security Architecture with regard to preventive diplomacy and rapid military response capability, against the background of the lessons learned in Mali.

While applauding the Preliminary Agreement signed by the Malian transitional government and country’s main rebel MNLA movement in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, 18 June, the Council called on the political parties, candidates and other stakeholders to demonstrate self-restraint, avoid incitement and accept the outcome of the national elections fixed for
28 July.

The Ministers commended the regional Mediator on Mali, President Blaise Compaore, and the co-mediator, President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria, “for the foresight, wisdom, patience and determination” in facilitating the June Agreement.

On Guinea-Bissau, the Council insisted on the completion of the transitional process by 31 December 2013 and welcomed the swearing in of the newly-elected members of the National Electoral Commission.

It encouraged them to work closely with the National Assembly, the transitional authorities and the political parties to ensure a peaceful presidential election on 24 Nov.

The Mediation and Security Council meeting was held ahead of the two-day 43rd Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, due to open in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, on Wednesday.
-0- PANA SEG 16July2013

16 july 2013 19:40:04

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