President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has left the country to attend the 42nd Ordinary Summit of the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire.
According to an Executive Mansion release, regional peace and security issues, including the situations in Mali and Guinea Bissau, will dominate the two-day Ordinary Session. The President of the ECOWAS Commission, His Excellency Kadré Désiré Ouedraogo, will present a Memorandum, for consideration, on developments in Mali, in the wake of the ongoing military offensive there. The President of Burkina Faso, His Excellency Blaise Compaoré, the regional Mediator on the Mali crisis, will also make a presentation to the Summit.
The leaders will also discuss the report of the Extraordinary Session of the ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council which preceded the Summit on Monday, February 25th.
At the Summit, regional leaders will also consider the Report of the 69th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers held last December in Abidjan, which took important decisions, notably on the system for increasing the Commission from nine to twelve Commissioners. By this decision, the Council seeks to ensure that ECOWAS reflects the concerns of the Community, and the Authority of Heads of State and Government is expected to decide the nature and content of the departments to be created.
According to the agenda for the Summit, the current Chairman of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government, Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara, will welcome his colleagues and guests later this morning; and that the President of the ECOWAS Commission, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for West Africa, and the President of the African Union Commission will make statements at the opening ceremony. Observers and partners from Africa, Europe and America, including international institutions, will also be in attendance.
Attending the session along with the Liberian leader will be Foreign Minister Augustine Ngafuan, Defense Minister Brownie Samukai, Finance Minister Amara Konneh, and the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Dr. Edward B. McClain, Jr.
While President Sirleaf is away, the Minister of Justice, Cllr. Christiana Tah, will chair the Cabinet in consultation with Vice President, Dr. Joseph N. Boakai.
President Sirleaf and delegation return to Liberia on Thursday, February 28th.