ECOWAS to hold anti-terrorism meeting in Accra

Dakar- Senegal (PANA) -- The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is to hold a weeklong meeting in Accra, Ghana beginning 21 October to discuss ways of combating drug trafficking, corruption and money laundering, which go together with terrorism, a senior official said in Dakar over the weekend.
Announcing this in an interview with PANA on Saturday, the ECOWAS Executive secretary, Lansana Kouyate, said the gathering would also examine measures to end child trafficking.
"Our experts will discuss the problem of trade in human beings in West Africa, particularly the exploitation and trafficking of children," he explained.
The meeting will bring together experts from ECOWAS ministries of Interior, Justice, Foreign Affairs of ECOWAS who will propose a mechanism to solve the issues arising from these problems.
Kouyate said that the problem of terrorism would be discussed during this meeting "which was planned long before the 11 September attacks on New York and Washington".
The ECOWAS official said the sub-regional organisation sometimes "anticipates events" before hand.
The ECOWAS executive secretary explained that his organisation did not wait for these disasters to occur "to launch a mechanism of consultations on security in our sub-region and our involvement in the global collective effort".
"Following a proposal by one or two member states, we started in 1999 to prepare documents on money laundering.
The Intergovernmental Group against Money Laundering, which was created in Dakar in July 2001, resulted from these discussions," Kouyate said.
A Senegalese lawyer, Lamine Fofana was appointed as the group's director while national representatives are in the process of being chosen, he added.
"Terrorism is among issues, like the AIDS pandemic and environmental problems, which can only be tackled through collective efforts by the entire international community because they recognise no boundaries," Kouyate said.
"I will give an example the fact that there were not only Americans in these hijacked planes and damaged buildings," he said, expressing sympathy for the bereaved families following the attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York and the Pentagon in Washington.
"This was a painful and unbearable tragedy," Kouyate said, warning that the entire international community was still at risk.

07 october 2001 16:28:00

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