West Africa military chiefs to meet on Mali

Lagos, Nigeria (PANA) - West African military chiefs, under the aegis of the Committee of Chiefs of Defence Staff (CDDS), are due to meet at an emergency session in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, on Saturday, in what will be their second meeting on the crisis in Mali within 10 days, the ECOWAS Commission announced Thursday.

It said the meeting would ''appraise the status of the on-going deployment of the African-led International Support Mission to Mali (AFISMA)''.

The one-day meeting is being held to follow up on the instructions of ECOWAS leaders who met at an extra-ordinary session 19 Jan. in Abidjan on the same issue.

The leaders had called for measures to strengthen the ECOWAS Standby Force so it can face challenges that could arise in the region.

Heads of police in ECOWAS Member States, the Special Representative of the President of the ECOWAS Commission, the AFISMA Commander and the Chief of Staff of AFISMA are also expected to attend the meeting.

The CDDS last met in Abidjan on the same issue 15 Jan.

PANA reports that over 1,000 of the 3,500 troops pledged by ECOWAS to AFISMA have already been deployed  to Mali to support the country's forces in  their effort to reclaim control over the north of the country, which has been in the hands of armed Islamist groups since last year.

Burundi and Chad have also indicated their intention to send troops to the UN-backed AFISMA.

According to AU Commission’s Director of Peace and Security El Ghassim Wane, an international pledging conference to help mobilise funds and  logistic support for AFISMA is scheduled for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 29 Jan.
-0- PANA SEG 24Jan2013

24 january 2013 19:08:28

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