7 December 2012

West Africa: ECOWAS Brainstorms On Deployment in Mali

Foreign Ministers from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have reaffirmed their commitment to the immediate deployment of an African-led International Support Mission (AFISMA) in Northern war-torn Mali, Liberia's Foreign Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafua disclosed.

The affirmation by ECOWAS heads of state, endorsed by the African Union (AU) followed a series of consultations with all international partners during its 69th Ordinary Session held in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, from November 30 to December 2, 2012.

The West African ministers in a Communiqué requested that the African Union expedites diplomatic efforts with the UN Security Council on the matter.

Briefing journalists at a regular Thursday press conference at the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism (MICAT), Minister Ngafua said the Council's position has been transmitted to the United Nations Security Council.

"The final communiqué, however, stated that the Council is disturbed by the seemingly lack of urgency in the recommendations of the Secretary General to the UN Security Council with regard to authorization to deploy an African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA) as requested by ECOWAS and the Africa Union after series of consultations with all international partners," ECOWAS ministers reaffirmed.

The regional group stressed that non-intervention in Northern Mali may worsen the humanitarian and security situations in the region and Africa, adding that

failure to assist the Malian people will encourage further entrenchment of the "terrorist and criminal groups with far-reaching threats for regional and international security."

Accordingly, the Communiqué states that it is the view of ECOWAS that the situation in the north of Mali calls for urgent action and proactive measures to restore the territorial integrity of the country and dismantle the terrorist and criminal networks, which have continued to bring untold hardships and human rights abuses and violations not only in Mali, but across the ECOWAS region and beyond.

The ECOWAS Council of Ministers urged the UNSC to take into account, in considering the report, the urgent need of adopting a resolution authorizing the use of force.

The Ministers further urged the African Union and ECOWAS to expeditiously dispatch a joint high-level mission to the United Nations Secretary General and the Security Council with a view to reiterate the position of the continent on the situation in Mali.

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