28 March 2014

West Africa: Yamoussoukro Summit Agenda Important

ECOWAS leaders are meeting Friday through Saturday, and one of the things they will be doing before they Yamoussoukro, Cote d'Ivoire, this week-end is to elect a new chairman for the regional organization.

We understand that it is the turn of a leader from anglophone West Africa to take the chair.

The ECOWAS Commission in a news release also stated that the political and security situations in Mali and Guinea Bissau are among the top items on their agenda, and that they will be briefed by the president of the ECOWAS Commission on the post-conflict situations in Mali and Guinea Bissau.

The latter has presidential elections in April in line with the ECOWAS-facilitated road map, following the defence and security sector reforms in that country.

The summit will also listen to the status report on the situation in Mali presented by the mediators, the presidents of Burkina Faso and Nigeria.

ECOWAS leaders are also expected to deliberate on the economic partnership agreement negotiations with the EU, following the extraordinary session of the ECOWAS council of ministers on Wednesday 26 March.

The council of ministers considered the outcome of the meeting of the ministerial committee on the EPA negotiations between West Africa and the European Union, held on 17 February 2014 in Dakar, Senegal.

Perhaps a no less important matter ECOWAS leaders will be discussing this week-end is a proposal by the ministers of national security on the introduction of biometric identification card, and the abolition of the residence permit requirement under the 1979 protocol on free movement of persons, goods and services, as well as the right of residence and of establishment.

Also very important, in our view, for our leaders' consideration is the result of the meeting of the community judicial council of 19th March 2014, concerning the recruitment of judges of the community court of justice.

We wish them fruitful deliberations!

"A nation is blessed when it has godly leaders".

Max Lucado

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