UN/ECOWAS Team On Small Arms For Six Countries

Lagos- Nigeria (PANA) -- A joint team of ECOWAS and UN officials has left Nigeria for six West African countries as part of efforts to ensure compliance with the ECOWAS' Small Arms Moratorium.
ECOWAS sources told PANA Sunday the six-member team, which left at the weekend, comprised two officials each from the sub-regional body, the UNDP's Programme for Co-ordination and Assistance for Security and Development (PCASED), and the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA).
The team will break into two groups of three members each, with one group visiting Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau and Sierra Leone and the other travelling to Cote d'Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Benin.
The six countries and Nigeria, have established their National Commissions to oversee the implementation of the Moratorium, signed by ECOWAS leaders 31 October 1998.
The establishment of such a Commission is a key element of the Moratorium, which is aimed at checking the proliferation of small arms in the sub-region and stemming associated conflicts that impede the economic and political development of the community.
The UN/ECOWAS team will advise the Commissions in the six countries on the requirements related to their functions, and also provide support for capacity building.
About half of all illicit arms in Africa, blamed for the growing number of conflicts in the continent, are said to be circulating in the West African sub-region.

24 june 2001 18:24:00

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