12 November 2012

West Africa: Use of Force Inevitable in Resolving Malian Crisis - Ecowas

Photo: RFI/Moussa Kaka
Members of Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa approach Timbuktu. (file photo)

The Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, HOSG, at the end of its Extra- Ordinary Summit in Abuja, yesterday said that the use of force in Mali may be indispensable in order to dismantle terrorist and transnational criminal networks that pose a threat to international peace and security.

This was contained in a communiqué issued at the end of the extra-ordinary summit which started on November 9, 2012 and ended on November 11, 2012.

According to the communiqué, dialogue would have remained the preferred option in the resolution of the current political crises in Mali but going by the deteriorating security challenge posed by the rebels who have taken total control of the northern part of the country, the use of force may be the last resort.

The Authority also welcomed the adoption of United Nations Security Council, UNSC Resolution 2071 on 12 October 2012 as a defining step in the international efforts to resolve the security and institutional crises in Mali, while commending the adoption of the Strategic Concept for the Resolution of the Crisis at the second meeting of the Support and Follow-Up Group on the Situation in Mali in Bamako on 19 October 2012.

The Summit reiterated its instruction to the Commission to maintain the stand-by force in a high state of readiness for imminent deployment, and urged member states to concretise their commitments to provide military and logistical contributions to the ECOWAS military efforts.

While encouraging partners to pool their efforts to strengthen the transition and ensure the credibility of the process in the run-up to the elections by April 2013 in Mali, the authority reiterated its decision that the interim president, the prime minister, and the other members of the Transitional Government shall not be candidates in the next presidential election.

On Guinea Bissau, the Heads of State and Government called upon the African Union to recognise the Transitional Government in the Sahel region, established with the facilitation of ECOWAS. In addition, they urged the AU to suspend the sanctions imposed on Guinea Bissau as an encouragement to the transitional authorities and in recognition of the progress the country continues to make towards forging a more inclusive transitional government to pave way for the peaceful restoration of full constitutional order in the country.

An appeal was made at the end of the summit to member states to extend financial assistance to the government of Guinea Bissau. A call was also made to the international community to ease the sanctions imposed on the country to alleviate the suffering of the population.

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