Nine ECOWAS members pledge 2,386 troops for Ivorian mission

Dakar- Senegal (PANA) -- Nine ECOWAS Member States -- Benin, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo -- have pledged to provide 2,386 troops for the sub-regional peace mission to Cote d'Ivoire.
The countries made the pledge at the Defence and Security Commission meeting, which preceded the ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council meeting, both in Abidjan at the weekend.
An ECOWAS release said the mandate of the troops to be deployed within the next 15 days, would include monitoring compliance with the 17th October 2002 agreement ending hostilities in Cote d'Ivoire.
The Defence officials considered the mandate, structure, composition, terms of reference and schedule of deployment of the force.
The 10-member Council decided that the size and composition of the force, which would also facilitate the process of the restoration of peace to the country, would be determined in consultation with the Ivorian government.
Members of the Council are Burkina Faso, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.
The ECOWAS force would take over from French troops, who have been monitoring the cease-fire under a tripartite agreement involving ECOWAS, France, and the government of Cote d'Ivoire.
It would also facilitate the resumption of public services, ensure the free movement of persons and goods in areas under rebel control as well as implement decisions relating to the disarmament of the insurgents.
In addition, the mission would ensure the safety of insurgents and humanitarian agencies.
The Council also endorsed the appointment of a Special Representative of the ECOWAS Executive Secretary for Cote d'Ivoire.
The official would define the political orientation of the mission, brief troop-contributing States on the status of activities in the field and co-ordinate the activities of sub-regional and international organisations.
The representative would also help consolidate peace in the zones covered by the mission and provide regular reports to the Executive Secretary.
ECOWAS Executive Secretary, Mohamed Ibn Chambas briefed the meeting on efforts being made to restore peace to Cote d'Ivoire.
He said the gravity of the situation demands that "prompt measures" be taken to provide a durable solution to the crisis.
Chambas said that in order to alleviate the problem of funding for the peace mission, ECOWAS has made contact with partners such as the US, Britain, France, Germany, Canada and Holland, which had indicated their preparedness to assist.

28 october 2002 20:31:00

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