1 February 2013

West Africa: Mali - Ecowas Expects Military Deployments to End Soon

cThe Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission has expressed hope that the deployment of all military personnel to assist in the ongoing anti-terrorism efforts in Mali would be completed within the shortest possible time.

The President of the Commission, Ambassador Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo, said this during a recent visit to Bamako, Mali's capital, where he held talks at the headquarters of the Africa led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA).

According to a statement issued by the ECOWAS Commission yesterday, Ouédraogo said all arrangements were going on as planned.

"We have held talks with the headquarters of AFISM, (the international support mission in Mali, and everything is gradually falling into place. I can assure you that, in the coming days, all the contingents will be on the ground," he said.

The statement revealed that Nigerian troops are currently housed at the Senou- Bamako Air-base while the Togolese and Benin contingents are using the Gendarmerie Training School in Bamako as their base. The Senegalese contingent is at the Peacekeeping School in Bamako.

The ECOWAS president and his delegation, which included the AFISMA Commander, Major General Abdulkadir Shehu (Nigeria), paid solidarity visits to all the bases including the French base.

The visit, ECOWAS said, was to allow the President interact with the troops and to understand the conditions under which they are operating so that they can be provided with maximum support, to ensure the success of the mission.

"We are impressed by the level of professionalism in the discharge of your duties. We wish to encourage you and we have promised to brief ECOWAS authorities for steps to be taken with the African Union and the international community so that, together, we can achieve final victory," he said at the end of the visit.

Ouédraogo conveyed the commendations and support of the ECOWAS heads of state and government who recently held an extraordinary summit in Abidjan on Mali, to the various continegents, the statement read.

The statement disclosed that the delegation, also visited the interim President of Mali, Dioncounda Traoré.

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