1 January 2013

ECOWAS Defence Chiefs Agree Modalities On Rapid Deployment of Additional Forces

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Abidjan - Cote d'Ivoire — The ECOWAS Committee of Chiefs of Defence Staff (CDDS) ended its one-day emergency meeting on 26th January 2013 in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire agreeing on the acceleration of the deployment of additional forces of the African-led Support Mission to Mali (AFISMA).

Further contributions from Member States that have been validated for AFISMA forces now stand at 5,700. The meeting, among others, also agreed on the establishment of an emergency budget for the AFISMA Headquarters and the acceleration of United Nations support for the forces.

In addition, the Defence Chiefs validated the establishment of a seven-nation sub-committee to accelerate decision-making on "simple issues" and oversee the validation and arbitration processes of the force generation in connection with AFISMA Headquarters, as well as report on the build-up of AFISMA forces to ECOWAS political authorities.

Cote d'Ivoire, as Chair of the CCDS, will head the sub-committee which other members include the Emergency Troop-contributing Countries (Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria and Togo), Senegal - as the country with "a strong contribution" and Mali, as the country serving as the theatre of operations.

According to the report of the CDDS, the term of office of the sub-committee ends with the conclusion of AFISMA's forces generation process. In attendance at the meeting were the Special Representative of the President of the ECOWAS Commission in Mali, the AFISMA Force Commander, the Chief of Staff and Police Commissioner of AFISMA.

Others included the Chiefs of Police and Gendarmerie Services from Benin, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo who participated as representatives of police contributing countries. The Minister reporting to the President of the Republic of Cote d'Ivoire in charge of Defense, Mr. Paul Koffi Koffi, addressed the meeting, which was chaired by Cote d'Ivoire's Chief of Defence Staff, General Soumaila Bakayoko.

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