Malian President urges for enhanced ECOWAS-WAEMU consultations

Bamako- Mali (PANA) -- Malian President and current chairman of both the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), Alpha Oumar Konare, has called for an institutional mechanism for consultations between the two sub-regional structures.
Konare, who spoke Thursday at the start of a two-day ministerial meeting evaluating the integration process in Africa, said ECOWAS and WAEMU should have a common West African position when negotiating, for instance, partnership agreements with the European Union (EU).
"The integration of our sub-region should fit into the realisation of the African Union," he said, adding "there is need to provide the means necessary to make the Union operational as soon as possible.
" Konare seized the occasion to encourage Ivorian authorities currently engaged in reconciliation talks, as well as urge countries of the Mano River Union (Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone) to end the conflict among them.
He underscored the achievements of the West African sub-region, citing the institution of a Parliament and Court of Justice, the functioning of a security and mediation council, the progressive operation of conflict prevention, management and settlement mechanisms and the adoption of an ECOWAS anthem and passport.
At the meeting in Bamako, ECOWAS and WAEMU Foreign Affairs and Finance ministers, Central Bank governors and officials of other financial institutions are taking stock of commitments made to initiate various actions within the two organisations.
These focus on the peace and regional security, the establishment of a free-trade zone, the creation of a single ECOWAS monetary zone in 2004, the development of regional infrastructure, private sector promotion, the harmonisation of WAEMU and ECOWAS programmes and human resource development.
The meeting is also assessing commitment to the African Union initiative and the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD), which is a merger of two development blueprints for the continent - the MAP and Omega plans.
ECOWAS membership includes Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote d'Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Mali, Liberia, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo, while WAEMU mainly French-speaking Franc-zone, including Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo.
Meanwhile, the 25th ECOWAS/WAEMU Heads of State summit has been scheduled 19 December in Dakar, Senegal.

23 november 2001 13:54:00

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