Mali, Guinea-Bissau to dominate 43rd ECOWAS Summit

Abuja, Nigeria (PANA) - The political and security situations in Mali and Guinea Bissau, which are preparing for crucial post-crisis elections, will dominate discussions at the two-day 43rd ECOWAS Summit, due to open in Nigeria's capital city of Abuja on Wednesday, the ECOWAS Commission has announced.

Presidential polls have been fixed for 28 July in Mali and 24 November in Guinea-Bissau, following military coups in both countries last year and the armed insurrection in northern Mali.

ECOWAS, working with the international community, mobilised resources and troops for the African-led International Support Mission (AFISMA), which transformed into a UN mission, MINUSMA, on 1 July, to help stabilise the situation.

France had also intervened in January to halt the advance of the rebels from the north of Mali and contribute to the restoration of the country’s territorial integrity.

Concerning Guinea Bissau, the ECOWAS Mission, ECOMIB, has since replaced the Portuguese military contingent in the West African nation, where political transition is moving in tandem with a Defence and Security Sector Reform Programme also supported by ECOWAS.

The Abuja Summit will consider a Memorandum on Mali, to be presented by ECOWAS Commission President Kadré Ouédraogo, and be briefed by the ECOWAS Mediator on Mali, President Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso, and his co-mediator, President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria.

The regional leaders will also listen to separate presentations by the Commission’s President and the Chairman of the regional Contact Group on the situation in Guinea Bissau.

Other items on the agenda of the mid-year summit include consideration of the memorandum on the expansion of the membership of the Commission from seven to 15 and the allocation of statutory positions to Member States.

The session will also consider the Interim Report of the President of the Commission, Report of the 70th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers and the Report of the 30th Meeting of the Mediation and Security Council held on Tuesday 15th July in Abuja.

PANA reports that ECOWAS holds two ordinary summits annually to consider various issues affecting the 15-nation bloc, set up in May 1975 to facilitate regional integration and promote socio-economic development.
-0- PANA SEG 16July2013

16 july 2013 19:55:38

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