Senegal: ECOWAS new chair outlines plans

Dakar, Senegal (PANA) – The new chair of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, has outlined her plans for the sub-regional bloc, ECOWAS said in a statement on Wednesday.

According to the statement made available to PANA in Dakar, Senegal, President Sirleaf spelt out her plans during a recent meeting with the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Marcel de Souza, who was on an official visit to Monrovia, Liberia, following the election of Sirleaf as the new ECOWAS Chair.

During the meeting, President Sirleaf highlighted her programme of action to Marcel de Souza.

According to ECOWAS, on peace and security, the two leaders noted the political instability in Guinea Bissau and Mali and the threat this posed to the security in the sub-region.  

They both agreed to work closely with all relevant stakeholders towards providing a lasting solution to the political and security crisis in Guinea Bissau.

''Both called on Member-States to take ownership of, and implement without delay, all Protocols relating to Peace and Security, as well as the Early Warning and Rapid Response Mechanism,'' the statement noted.

As a demonstration of her commitment, President Sirleaf was said to have signed Executive Order No. 076 approving the legal framework and the commencement of the establishment of the Centre.

Also, both leaders highlighted the threats of terrorism and its attendant security challenges in the sub-region stating that the fight against terrorism must not be left in the hands of security personnel alone.  

They called for regular exchange of intelligence and information sharing so as to avoid a repeat of recent terrorist attacks in Cote d’Ivoire and elsewhere in the sub-region.

They committed themselves to re-dedicate their efforts to combating trans-national crime, trans-humans herdsmen, human and drugs trafficking, and maritime insecurity in the sub-region.

Turning their attention to the economy, both leaders noted that most economies in the region were going through strains and stress and called for improved infrastructure and increased trading activities among ECOWAS Member-States to facilitate economic integration.  

They also called for the ratification and implementation of all ECOWAS instruments such as the Common External Tariff (CET), Economic Partnership Agreement, (EPA) and ECOWAS Trade Liberation Scheme (ETLS).

Meanwhile, President Sirleaf has expressed satisfaction with the reforms embarked upon by  
Marcel de Souza in terms of institutional reforms especially in cutting down on meetings that have no relevant value to integration projects of the sub-region.

Both leaders expressed appreciation to Member-States that have paid up the arrears of Community Levy and called on those that are yet to fulfil their obligations to do so promptly with a view to achieving ECOWAS Vision 2020 for the benefit of the people of the sub-region.

They highlighted the importance of the Lagos-Abidjan-Dakar Road Network and called for early submission of feasibility report connecting all the corridors, including Liberia.

The ECOWAS Commission President congratulated Liberia on the recent lifting of arms embargo through UN Security Council Resolution no. 2288 of 25th of May, 2016.  

He attributed this to the sterling qualities of Madam Sirleaf and was convinced that these would be brought to bear as the Chair of ECOWAS Heads of States and Government.

Meanwhile, Sirleaf’s election marked the first time, since the establishment of ECOWAS in 1975, that a Liberian Leader and in particular a female President, was unanimously elected as the Chair of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government.

By extension and as a coincidence, it is also the first time a Liberian female Minister of Foreign Affairs would Chair the ECOWAS Council of Ministers.
-0- PANA MLJ/VAO 22June2016

22 Junho 2016 15:41:20

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