Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire (PANA) - The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is doggedly pushing ahead with its plan to deploy 3,000 troops to its troubled Member State to help restore the country's national integrity and return constitutional order.
The 15-member regional bloc has steadily progressed with the troops deployment plan, even though the international community seems to have been largely cool towards it.
Following the conclusion of the two-day emergency meeting of ECOWAS military chiefs in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire, Thursday, under the aegis of the Committee of Chiefs of Defence Staff (CCDS), the Committee fixed 9 August for a final planning conference in Mali, in preparation for the deployment of the ECOWAS Mission in Mali (MICEMA).
The decision came after the military chiefs endorsed the report and outcome of the Technical Assessment Mission (TAM) that visited Mali 6-18 July, assisted by the African Union and the United Nations.
After the 28-29 June summit of West African leaders in the Ivorian capital, Yamoussoukro, where it was decided to fast-track the troops deployment, the TAM was dispatched to Mali to liaise with the Transitional Authority, with a view to preparing the ground for the imminent arrival of the ECOWAS mission.
The CCDS meeting also called for international support for the planned deployment of MICEMA, apparently in view of the hitherto futile attempt by the regional bloc to get the approval of the UN Security Council to deploy MICEMA under Chapter of the UN Charter, which allows for sanctions, including economic measures and an arms embargo, as well as military force, to maintain peace.
Though the UN Security Council has asked for detailed information on the planned deployment before giving its authorization, ECOWAS leaders have in turn urged the Council to speed up the approval process, in view of the worsening security and humanitarian situation in the northern part of the country, held by rebels and Islamists.
In their deliberations, the CCDS noted that the gravity of the political, security and humanitarian situations in Mali constituted a serious threat to peace not only in Mali but the entire region, according to a statement which the ECOWAS Commission made available to PANA here Friday.
The Committee noted that in order to carry the international community along, the deployment of MICEMA is contingent on a formal request by the Malian Government and subsequent approval by the UN Security Council.
The meeting was attended by Chiefs of Defence Staff, some Chiefs of Police and Gendarmeries of Member States, the ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Mrs. Salamatu Suleiman, and the Special Representative of the President of the ECOWAS Commission to Mali, Mr. Aboudou Cheaka Toure.
-0- PANA SEG 27July2012