18 January 2013

Regional Leaders Meet On Political Developments in Mali, Guinea Bissau

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Abidjan - Cote d'Ivoire — ECOWAS leaders will meet in an extraordinary session in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire on Saturday, 19th January 2013, to agree additional measures for resolving the crisis in Mali following the renewed military offensive by Islamists occupying the north of the country.

The one-day summit of the Authority of Heads of State and Government, to which representatives of 20 non-ECOWAS Member States and organizations have also been invited, will discuss the evolving political situation in Mali and how the region can work with the international community for the resolution of the crisis within the context of the UN Security Council Resolution 2085 of December 2012.

The leaders will be briefed by the President of the ECOWAS Commission, His Excellency Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo, on the political and security situation and by the regional mediators on the Mali crisis, Presidents Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso and Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria.

They will also be updated on the status of preparations for the deployment of AFISMA, the African-led Mission in Mali, by the Chairman of the ECOWAS Committee of Chiefs of Defence Staff, General Soumaila Bakayoko, while Cote d'Ivoire's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Honourable Charles Koffi Diby, will present the outcome of the meeting of the Mediation and Security Council, taking place before the summit, also in the Ivorian capital.

The summit is also expected to confirm the appointment of Nigeria's Major- General Shehu Usman Abdulkadir as the Force Commander for AFISMA and Brigadier- General Yaye Garba of Niger, as his deputy. The regional leaders will also discuss the situation in Guinea Bissau where the ECOWAS Mission (ECOMIB) was deployed last year, as well as the ongoing defence and security sector reform programme in the country by ECOWAS and the international community.

The summit will be preceded on 18th January 2013 by the meeting of the Mediation and Security Council to be attended by Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defence on the situations in Mali and Guinea Bissau, and whose recommendations will be considered by the regional leaders.

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