Formalization of Ecowas Mission in Guinea-Bissau

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Bissau - Guinea Bissau — The deployment of an ECOWAS mission to Guinea-Bissau (ECOMIB) since March 2012 is due to be formalized with the signing of a mission agreement (SOMA) and the Memorandum of Understanding on the implementation of the roadmap for the defence and security sector reform programme of the country on Wednesday, 7th November 2012.

Both documents will be signed by the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr. Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Guinea-Bissau, Mr. Faustino Fudut Imbali, at a ceremony to be immediately followed by a flag-raising and military parade.

The first text, comprising 61 articles, carefully studied by the two parties, clearly proclaims the desire to promote peace and stability in Guinea-Bissau in accordance with international law, the United Nations Charter, the Revised ECOWAS Treaty, the 1999 ECOWAS Protocol relating to the Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management, Resolution, Peacekeeping and Security as well as the 2001 ECOWAS supplementary Protocol on democracy and good governance.

The second document suggests that Guinea-Bissau and ECOWAS share the same desire for mutual cooperation, with a view to promoting a democratic governance of the defence and security sector of the country and the launching a strategic dialogue in that regard.

On 16 March 2011, the Government of Guinea-Bissau approved the roadmap crafted by ECOWAS and the Community of Portuguese-speaking countries (CPLP) on the defence and security sector reform of August 2010. The document was subsequently amended at a joint meeting held in November 2010 in Abuja, Nigeria, between the ECOWAS Chiefs of defence staff, and the Heads of security services and representatives of the Community of Portuguese-speaking countries.

With over 600 soldiers and police officers from Burkina Faso, Nigeria and Senegal, ECOMIB will secure the transitional arrangements instead of the Angolan soldiers, who left the country early this year. The Angolan contingent comprising 600 soldiers were deployed on 11 March 2011, pursuant to an agreement under which Angola was to help Guinea-Bissau in reforming its defence and security sector.

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