Abuja - Nigeria — The President of the ECOWAS Commission, His Excellency Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo has urged all stakeholders to play their part towards a speedy restoration of constitutional order and democracy in Guinea-Bissau.
Receiving a delegation of Guinea-Bissau Ministers and the Commander of the ECOWAS Mission in Guinea-Bissau (ECOMIB), Col. Gnibanga Barro, at the Commission on Tuesday 12th February 2013, the President called for the urgent implementation of the roadmap for political transition including the holding of free and fair, transparent and credible elections in the country. He also underscored the need to fast-track the completion of the ECOWAS- supported defence and security sector reform in the country, adding that the ECOWAS and other partners, including the Africa Union, the EU, the UN and CPLP, Community of Portuguese Language Speaking Countries, were solidly behind efforts to end the crisis in Guinea-Bissau ECOWAS and the four organizations are expected to send a joint mission to the country this month to review the situation on the ground.
President Ouédraogo told the visiting delegation led by Guinea-Bissau's Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Honourable Faustino Fudut Imbali that the 42nd Ordinary Summit of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government taking place in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire 27th -28th February 2013, is expected to discuss the report of the joint mission to help chart a way forward in Guinea-Bissau. The Minister thanked ECOWAS and the other partners for their continued support and pledged that the national transitional government, civil society organizations and other stakeholders would play their role to ensure the return of democracy and constitutional order in Guinea-Bissau.
ECOMIB was deployed in Guinea-Bissau in March 2012 under a Mission Agreement and a Memorandum of Understanding on the implementation of the roadmap for the country's defence and security sector reform programme, signed between the country and ECOWAS, when President Ouédraogo visited there in November 2012. With over 600 soldiers and police officers from Burkina Faso, Nigeria and Senegal, ECOMIB is charged with securing Guinea-Bissau's transitional arrangements, with the replacement of 600 Angolan soldiers deployed in March 2011, pursuant to an agreement between Angola and Guinea-Bissau. The initial six-month mandate of the Mission, which expired on 17th November 2012, has been extended by a further six months.
Also on Minister Imbali's delegation to the ECOWAS Commission were his counterpart in charge of National Defence and Combatants for National Liberation, Brig.-Gen. Pilav Celestino de Carvalho, as well as the ECOWAS Special Representative to Guinea-Bissau Ansumane Ceesay and Alexandre Batista, Military Adviser in the Office of the Special Representative.