Abuja-Nigeria — An ECOWAS Working Group set up to coordinate at the Commission's level, the implementation of the UN Security Council's Resolution 2085 on Mali, met in Abuja on Tuesday, 8th January 2012, to strategize on the implementation of the 20th December 2012 Resolution endorsing the deployment of an African-led force, AFISMA, under Chapter VII for the resolution of the political and security crises in Mali.
Inaugurating the multi-sectoral group made up of representatives of the Commission's directorates, the Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Mrs. Salamatu Hussaini Suleiman, emphasized that one of the Commission's key tasks this year is the restoration of peace and democracy to Mali, working with the international community and partners.
She therefore charged members of the Working Group to come up with a blueprint to be shared with partners at a forthcoming meeting, "to ensure that AFISMA does not only succeed, but also enjoys the full support of Malians and the international community." The Commissioner commended the international community and partners, especially the UN, the African Union and the European Union for their tremendous support to the regional initiative in seeking solution to the crisis in Mali, and called for the sustenance of the support until the restoration of peace and the country's territorial integrity.
In his presentation to the meeting, which was also attended by the US, UK and EU Military Liaison Officers/Advisers to ECOWAS, the Director of Political Affairs, Dr. Abdel-Fatau Musah, briefed the Working Group on the political situation in Mali and the Implications of the UN Security Council Resolution 2085 for the ECOWAS region. This was followed by the presentation by the Chief of Staff, ECOWAS Standby Force, General Muhammed Lai, which dwelt on the key requirements of Resolution 2085, as well as the architecture and the needs of AFISMA and the Mali Defence and Security Force, including training and logistics support.
The Acting Director of Communication, Mr. Sunny Ugoh, presented a proposed Communication Strategy for the realization AFISMA objectives, especially the positive engagement of the media and engendering local and international support for the mission. The Working Group also discussed the proposed financial cost of AFISMA as well as envisaged support for the Malian Defence and Security Force, and particularly the need for international logistic and financial support.
The meeting held at the Operations Room of the Directorate of Political Affairs, Peace and Security, and chaired by Commissioner Suleiman, was attended by representatives of the Commission's Directorates of Early Warning, Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Administration and Finance, Human Resources, Human Development and Gender, Legal, Communication and the ECOWAS Peace Fund, among others.