Mali advocates West African Federation

Dakar- Senegal (PANA) -- Malian Foreign Minister Modibo Sidibe, whose country is out-going chair of ECOWAS, Monday called for a strengthening of the 15-nation Community into a federated West Africa to facilitate the integration of the continent.
Addressing his colleagues at a meeting in the Senegalese capital in advance of the 20-21 December Summit, he said the Abuja-based Executive Secretariat of the 26-year-old Community should be reinforced for the strategic positioning of the Sub-region.
Sidibe urged member States to show greater commitment towards the realisation of this goal.
He noted the achievements in the political and socio- economic fields, which he attributed to the "vitality and dynamism" of the leadership, but stressed that a lot needed to be done for the realisation of sub-regional integration.
Speaking in the same vein, Senegalese Foreign Affairs and African Union Minister Cheik Tidiame Gadio acknowledged the role of his colleagues in the elaboration of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) initiative.
He paid tribute to President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria and his Senegalese counterpart Abdoulaye Wade, for joining forces with their colleagues outside the sub-region to NEPAD, an initiative expected to jump-start economic and political development in Africa.
In his address, ECOWAS Executive Secretary Lansana Kouyate, whose mandate expires this month, thanked the Foreign Ministers for their support.
He said "the achievements of ECOWAS in peacekeeping and conflict prevention need no advertisement, adding "bitter memories, no matter how tenacious, mellow in time.
" The Foreign ministers meeting, which is taking the security, political and socio-economic pulse of ECOWAS, is part of the build up to the West African Summit, which will elect a new Executive Secretary and confirm host President Wade as new chair.
The organisation's Council of Ministers and Central Bank Governors were Monday also winding up their own deliberations in the Senegalese capital.

17 december 2001 20:18:00

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