ECOWAS postpones extra-ordinary summit on Mali

Lagos, Nigeria (PANA) - The West African regional bloc, ECOWAS, has postponed its extra-ordinary summit on Mali from Wednesday in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire, to Saturday (19Jan) at the same venue, ECOWAS sources told PANA here Sunday.

No reasons were given for the three-day postponement, but PANA learnt that it was due to scheduling problems.

''Some leaders are apparently not available on the date fixed earlier,'' the sources said.

Heads of State and Government of the 15-member regional bloc called the meeting following the escalation of the crisis in one of the member states, Mali.

The rebel Islamist groups have recently clashed with Malian government troops as they pushed southward from the northern part of the country which they seized last year.

The resurgence of the fighting has forced ECOWAS to order the immediate deployment of its own 3,500-strong component of the African-led International Support Mission for Mali (AFISMA), which was approved by the UN Security Council last month.

Only four countries - Nigeria, Senegal, Burkina Faso and Niger - are said to be ready to deploy their troops in the days ahead.

Nigeria confirmed on Saturday that it has sent a reconnaissance team.

France has also sent troops to assist Malian government forces on the ground, while the government of the West African nation has declared a state of emergency as it rallies support against the rebels.
-0- PANA SEG 13Jan2013

13 january 2013 16:24:11




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