ECOWAS to send military experts to Liberia

Abuja- Nigeria (PANA) -- West African sub-regional group ECOWAS is to despatch a team of military experts to Liberia for a week-long assessment of the security situation in the country, where the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) rebels are battling the government.
ECOWAS Executive Secretary Mohammed Ibn Chambas told the ECOWAS Parliament in Abuja, Monday: "In fact as I speak to you, I just signed the authorisation despatching a team of military personnel to Liberia to study the security situation and thereafter make suggestions and recommendations to the Secretariat on appropriate measures to take to arrest the situation in that country.
" The mission, to be lead by Colonel J P Oladipupo of Nigeria, has members from Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire and Senegal, and is expected to leave Abuja for Monrovia this week.
Chambas said despite efforts by Heads of State of the sub-region, the situation in Liberia had been deteriorating hourly, adding that it demanded an urgent attention.
In the meantime, he said ECOWAS had endorsed fully the decision of the third extra-ordinary session of its Mediation and Security Council, calling for cessation of hostilities and dialogue between the Liberian warring parties.
But an ECOWAS source later told PANA the mission was not a prelude to the deployment of a sub-regional intervention force, ECOMOG, to Liberia.
"No, no, no.
that is not on the cards for now.
We are still operating within the decisions reached by the ECOWAS leaders in Cote d'Ivoire two weeks ago," the source added.
In another development, Chambas has said that if regional integration is to be achieved in the sub-region, ECOWAS must "establish social peace (among) our member States".
"National integration and consolidation of member States of the community are preconditions for effective regional integration," Chambas told the ECOWAS Parliament.
He said the wars in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea-Bissau had seriously disrupted peace and set back the integration process and programmes in the sub-region.
"Our member States cannot integrate and create a zone of prosperity if they fail to achieve social, cultural and political integration within their national borders," Chambas warned.

04 june 2002 13:09:00

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