11 November 2012

West Africa: Jonathan Tasks Ecowas Leaders On Collective Vision of Peace, Stability

Photo: William Lloyd-George/IPS
Malian refugees.

Abuja — President Goodluck Jonathan, on Sunday in Abuja, called on ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government to defend the collective vision of a peaceful, stable and economically prosperous region.

Jonathan made the call at the opening of an extra-ordinary summit of Ecowas Authority of Heads of State and Government at the Transcorp Hilton.

He said in a welcome address to the Summit that the leaders could not turn a blind eye to potentially destabilising situations in member States of Mali and Guinea Bissau.

"You will agree with me that recent events in these two countries are a negation of our Organisation's vision and our resolve to elevate democracy and constitutional order as the organising principles of governance in our sub-region problems.

"Guinea Bissau and Mali need our help to stabilise and to recover lost grounds. These two countries need to move away from conflict and embrace development. This is what their citizens deserve.

"It is our duty to work together in friendship and in solidarity to create the condition that will promote development and bring prosperity to all our citizens," he said

Jonathan charged the Authority to place greater premium on peace and make the extra efforts at finding solutions to the seemingly intractable problem.

The President underscored the need for ECOWAS to treat conflict in one country as a regional challenge, requiring a common regional approach.

He called on the summit to come up with bold decisions that would help reinforce peace and security, not only in Guinea Bissau and Mali but across the entire sub-region.

Also at the opening, the ECOWAS Chairman and President of Cote d'Ivoire, Allasane Quattara, said the international community should see the crises in Guinea Bissau and Mali as a global threat.

He said the summit was convened to validate the harmonised concept of operations for the African led International Mission in Mali and review the situation in Guinea Bissau.

The Mission in Mali would help that country recover parts of its north that had been taken over by secessionists and terrorists.

Quattara said the decision at the summit would be forwarded to the AU and the UN not later than November 15 for ratification.

Speaking in same vein, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Desire Quedraogo, said the exploration of mediation and diplomacy in resolving the crises in both countries should not hold back the use of force, where necessary.

He appealed for a consolidation of all efforts at resolving the crises.

10 heads of State from the 15-member nations are in attendance at the Summit as well as representatives from the AU and non member States of Algeria, Chad, Libya Morocco and South Africa.


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