This Day (Lagos)

14 January 2013

Nigeria: ECOWAS Lauds France's Intervention in Mali

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission has welcomed the intervention by French troops in crisis-torn Mali, where Islamic rebel groups are in control of the northern part of the country.

However, with France's assistance, the Malian government has regained control over the central town of Konna.

President of the ECOWAS Commission, Ambassador Kadre Desiré Ouédraogo, according to a statement at the weekend, lamented that efforts to find solutions to the political crisis in Mali have not yielded result as the situation deteriorated further in the past few days.

"The commission reiterates its support and encouragement to the Malian Defence and Security Forces' commitment to take all necessary measures to repel this attack. It commends the efforts of the ECOWAS Committee of Chiefs of Defence Staff in the implementation of Resolution 2085 of the UN Security Council," he said.

He cautioned against any action by any group or individual to derail the transition process warning that such an act would be met with sanctions.

He added that measures would be taken to implement the decision of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, which authorised the immediate deployment of troops in Mali.

Meanwhile, the Authority of Heads of State and Government has urged the Transitional Authority of Mali to expedite action on the establishment of an agency responsible for political dialogue with rebel groups, which renounced terrorism and violence and recognised the territorial integrity and secularity of Mali.

It also authorised the immediate deployment of troops to assist the Malian army defend the territorial integrity of the country to conform to the UN Security Council Resolution 2085.

In a statement by the Chairman, President Alassane Ouattarra of Cote d'Ivoire, the body lamented the attempt by the rebels to capture Konna and progress southwards towards positions held by the Mali government troops.

"Authority thanks the Security Council members and the French government for their expeditious reaction aimed to stabilise the military situation in Mali. Authority commends the Malian Defence and Security Forces for their efforts to repel the advances by the terrorists and hails the ECOWAS Committee of Chiefs of Defence Staff for its exemplary mobilisation," he added.

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