Ghana's Deputy Defence Minister tasks ECOWAS on security challenges

Accra, Ghana (PANA) - Ghana's Deputy Defence Minister Ebenezer Terlabi has said that responses to emerging political and security challenges in West Africa require new thinking, well coordinated efforts with high technology, skills and renewed commitment.

The minister was speaking at the opening a meeting of the Committee of ECOWAS Chiefs of Defence Staff (CCDS) in Ghana's capital, Accra, on Wednesday.

“You should able to look at our efforts in rapid mobilisation, combating of terrorist activities and the use of our waters for piracy and drug trafficking, the porous nature of our borders and the proliferation of small arms among others,” he told the 32nd Ordinary session of the Committee at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre.

The ECOWAS Commission said in a statement made available to PANA here Thursday that after a series of extra-ordinary meetings towards the resolution of the political and security crises in Mali and Guinea Bissau, the two-day Accra session is, among other issues, discussing the political reconciliation process in Mali and the transformation of the African-led International Support Mission in that country (AFISMA) into the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission (MINUSA).

The Accra meeting, under the theme: “Enhancing ECOWAS Military Cooperation, For Peace, Stability and Development,” is also discussing the proposed African Immediate Crisis Response Capacity (AICRC); the status of Maritime Security in the Gulf of Guinea and regional counter-terrorism initiatives.

The regional defence chiefs will also discuss the ECOWAS-supported Defence and Security Sector Reform Programme (DSSRP) in Guinea Bissau, and the operations of the ECOWAS Mission in that country - ECOMIB.

While Mr. Terlabi considers the AICRC as a “duplication” of the African Standby Force (ASF) initiative, he requested that the proposal be “referred to the Regional Economic Communities/Regional Mechanisms (RECs/RMs) for detailed study and analysis”.

In her remarks, the ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Mrs. Salamatu Hussaini Suleiman, noted that efforts by ECOWAS and the international community, including the UN, African Union, EU, France and the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries (CPLP), have continued to yield positive results in Mali and Guinea Bissau.

“The response by our community and particularly this august Committee since the inception of this crisis, leading to the deployment of AFISMA, is a clear indication of our common efforts in seeking a lasting solution to the security threat not only confronting Mali but the entire region,” she added.

Addressing the meeting, the chairman of the CCDS and Cote d’Ivoire’s Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Soumaila Bakayoko, urged the Committee to work out personnel and logistics details for a seamless transformation of AFISMA into MINUSA.

He commended troop contributing countries and called for renewed solidarity and united efforts by all ECOWAS member states to ensure sustained peace and security of the region.
-0- PANA SEG 27June2013

27 june 2013 10:00:03

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