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Mali: ECOWAS urged to re-examine its crises response mechanisms

Source: ECOWAS
Country: Guinea-Bissau, Mali

The complexity of emerging crises in West Africa, such as in Mali and Guinea Bissau, requires the re-examination of regional response mechanisms for effective tackling of the structural causes of instability in the region and their ramifications, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, His Excellency Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo has urged.

“We must re-interrogate the structure of regional peace and security in relation to preventive diplomacy, sanction regime, and the response capacities and the transport strategies,” the president said at the opening of the 30th Ordinary session of the ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council (MSC) in Abuja on Monday 15th July 2013.

He highlighted the progress made in Mali, the most recent being the July 2013 the transformation of the African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA) into the UN Multi-dimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission (MINUSM, following tireless efforts and decisions by the Council and regional leaders in collaboration with the African Union and the UN.

President Ouédraogo equally recalled the protracted and difficult process of negotiations that followed the mobilization and deployment of AFISMA and expressed gratitude to the Chair of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, President Alassane Ouattara of Cote d’Ivoire, the Regional Mediator on Mali, President Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso and the deputy Mediator, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan of Nigeria.

On Guinea Bissau, he said the presidential election fixed for 24th November 2013 marks the end of the first phase of the transition process being facilitated by ECOWAS in that country.

The resolution of these crises, said the president, have also made it possible to focus on the issues of extremism and terrorism, piracy and other maritime crimes, as well as drugs, arms and human trafficking in the region.

To this end, he recalled that the Council had adopted the ECOWAS Anti-terrorism Strategy at its meeting in Yamoussoukro last February, followed in June 2013 with the adoption of important strategic documents against piracy and other transnational crimes in the Gulf of Guinea by the leaders of ECOWAS and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) in Yaoundé,

In addition to addressing these issues, the president also urged the Council to deliberate on the legislative elections planned for 25 July 2013 in Togo and September 2013 in Guinea following difficult processes of dialogue in both countries.

He reminded the Council, made up of Foreign Ministers, that the region has a responsibility to provide necessary support for peaceful, free, fair and transparent elections and the restoration of constitutional order in the two ECOWAS Member States.

While opening the meeting, the Council chairman and Cote d’Ivoire’s Foreign Minister Honorable Charles Koffi Diby, urged the session to come up with concrete recommendations for the consolidation of the successes achieved towards the restoration of constitutional rule and democracy in Mali and Guinea Bissau.

He commended the international community, particularly the African Union, UN, Chad, France and others, for supporting ECOWAS in finding solutions to the regional crises, noting that the 13 July entry of Malian troops into the country’s northern city of Kidal, previously held by the rebels, should pave way for free, fair and transparent elections on 28 July.

The minister also paid tribute to the memory of soldiers who lost their lives in the course of restoring peace to Mali.

While political tension might have eased in Guinea Bissau, he stressed the need for continued international engagement for the successful implementation of the regional transition roadmap.

The Minister also called for an effective mechanism to be put in place to eliminate piracy, drug, arms and human trafficking, and other organized international crimes in the Gulf of Guinea.

Also present at the opening of the Council meeting, which will feed into a two-day ECOWAS mid-year Summit beginning Wednesday, 17th July 2013 also in Abuja, were the Commissioner of Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Mrs. Salamatu Hussaini Suleiman, her counterpart for Administration and Finance, Mrs. Khadi Ramatu Saccoh, as well as those for Human Development and Gender, Dr. Adrienne Diop and Macroeconomic policy, Dr. Ibrahim Bocar Ba respectively.

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