CAJ News Agency (Johannesburg)

10 July 2014

West Africa: Ebola Dominates Ecowas Summit

Accra — THE Ebola outbreak is set to dominate discussions at the 45th Ordinary Session of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Heads of States and Government summit that has opened in Accra.

Explaining the agenda for the session, Director of Communications at the Flagtsaff House, Ben Dotse Malor, said all member states had confirmed participation at various levels of the Ebola discussions.

"Sometimes some of these subjects are discussed informally among the leaders but I understand that the issue of Ebola is going to be firmly put on the agenda for discussion," said Ben Dotse Malor.

Other issues to be discussed include security, a recommendation for the introduction of biometric ID cards for all ECOWAS citizens and the abolition of residence permit requirements for all citizens within member states.

Malor said with the lifting of sanctions on Guinea Bissau by the African Union, there was need for ECOWAS member states and the international community to re-engage with the country and provide the support that is needed to strengthen its institutions.

The political and security situation in the sub-region especially in Mali and Guinea Bissau, was the main topic at a meeting of ECOWAS Foreign and Defense ministers held on Wednesday in Accra.

"Another issue that will be of concern to people is the request to have the Ebola outbreak in the three member states of ECOWAS also put on the agenda of the Heads of State," reiterated Malor.

The Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea where 759 people have been infected with the virus and about 467 of them have killed, is haunting the sub region.

Health Ministers from West African countries last week adopted a common strategy and promised better collaboration to fight the virus outbreak, said to be the world's deadliest to date.

Meanwhile, the Presidents of Mauritania, Cameroon and Chad as well as the President of the African Union Commission and the Secretary-General of the United Nations will attend the summit.

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