Ghana: ECOWAS leaders express concern about growing menace of terrorism

Accra, Ghana (PANA) - Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Thursday expressed deep concerns over the growing menace of terrorism in member states.

They also noted with alarm the damning effects of piracy, human trafficking, proliferation of small arms and light weapons, abductions and other criminal acts perpetrated by non-state armed groups.

They therefore instructed the ECOWAS Commission to strengthen its multi-sectoral programmes to support member states in fighting these challenges, particularly in areas of training and capacity-building and information sharing.

In a communique issued at the end of their one-day summit in Accra, they recalled the conclusions of the Extraordinary Summit of 30 May 2014 in Accra regarding the increasing terrorist attacks by the Boko Haram insurgents in Nigeria, particularly the reprehensible abduction of women and girls, and expressed concern over the continued non-release of the Chibok school girls as well as other bombings and crimes against the populace being perpetrated in the country.

"The Summit expresses its sympathy with the Government and people of Nigeria over the recent bombing at Emab Plaza, Abuja, and assures the Nigerian Government of its continued support and solidarity in combatting the menace of terrorism."

On Mali, the communique said the leaders welcomed the improvement recorded in the security situation in the north of the country since the skirmishes of May 2014 and lauded the initiative of the Algerian Government to organize a follow-up meeting to explore peaceful means to end the crisis in line with the Ouagadougou Preliminary Agreement.

The Summit expressed the leaders' unflinching solidarity with the Government of Mali and reiterated their readiness to continue supporting on-going peace processes, particularly the Inter-Malian Dialogue, and the activation of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission, in line with the Ouagadougou Preliminary Agreement.

"The Authority also reiterates its commitments to the unity and territorial integrity of Mali, and restates the non-negotiable and sacrosanct identity of member States."

The Heads of State and Government expressed the need for all the parties to remain committed to the peaceful resolution of the conflict in northern Mali and called on the non-state armed groups to cease all acts of hostilities, including violent attacks on Government forces' positions, United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) and civilians.

It reiterated the earlier calls on them to lay down their weapons, submit to cantonment, and pursue the peaceful resolution of the conflict within the framework of the inclusive national dialogue.

The leaders strongly condemned the various attacks on troops of MINUSMA, humanitarian workers and the Malian Defence and Security Forces by non-state armed groups, and expressed condolences to countries, whose nationals have recorded fatalities in the recent attacks.

They also welcomed the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2164, which has enhanced the mandate and operational capacities of MINUSMA and established a more robust humanitarian framework for engagement in Mali.

"The Authority calls on the Member States to pay up their pledged financial support to the African-led International Support Mission to Mali (AFISMA), to enable the Commission conclude the liquidation of all outstanding financial obligations of AFISMA. It also calls on the UN and the AU to make resources available from the Trust Fund in this regard, to enable the ECOWAS Commission to pay up arrears to Troops Contributing Member States."

The summit noted with satisfaction, the progress recorded in the process of democratic consolidation and stability in the Member States, which climaxed in the successful swearing-in of the democratically-elected President of Guinea Bissau, José Mário Vaz on 23 June 2014.

The Heads of State and Government urged the new government to adopt and implement a comprehensive reform agenda, encompassing national dialogue and reconciliation; economic recovery; the reform of the governance and political institutions and processes to sustain the stabilization and recovery efforts.

They also pledged the assistance of ECOWAS and the rest of the international community in the implementation of the reforms.

They noted the critical presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for 2015 in Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Nigeria and Togo, and reiterated their commitment to ensuring that the processes preceding, and the actual conduct of these elections were free, fair and credible in line with international standards.
-0- PANA MA 10July2014

10 Julho 2014 22:15:44

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