12 May 2017

West Africa: Amb. Conteh Addresses Ecowas Parliament

Liberia's Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Professor Al-Hassan Conteh says the ECOWAS region has recorded progress in achieving its integration goals under the dynamic leadership of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

The Liberian Ambassador named the recent successful elections in Ghana and in The Gambia, among others, as part of President Sirleaf's drive to make the region peaceful and ECOWAS programs sustainable within the context of ECOWAS Vision 2020 over the past one year.

He noted that election in The Gambia was preceded by the successful mediation of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government under President Sirleaf's leadership as testimonies to the regional body's progress.

According to a release from the Liberian Embassy in Abuja, Ambassador Conteh's remarks were contained in an opening speech he made on behalf of the Permanent Representatives of ECOWAS Member States at the opening ceremony of the ECOWAS Parliament's session.

The 4th Legislature of the ECOWAS Parliament commenced its deliberations for the First Ordinary Session for 2017 in Abuja on Wednesday, May 10, 2017.

Ambassador Conteh also expressed profound thanks and gratitude to the ECOWAS Parliament for the supportive role it continues to play in the peaceful resolution of regional crises.

According to the release, Ambassador Conteh particularly thanked the Parliament for the role it played in helping to resolve the Gambian crisis and ongoing efforts to solve renewed tensions in Guinea-Bissau, and the security challenges in Mali, and northeastern Nigeria.

He noted, "these crises are occasioned variously by terrorism, the breakdown in political dialogue, armed insurgency, the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, illegal fishing, transhumance, human and arms trafficking".

Ambassador Conteh congratulated the Speaker of the Parliament, Hon. Moustapha Cisse Lo and the entire body for the delocalized meetings it recently held in Liberia, Mali, and Cape Verde which discussed urgent matters affecting democracy, health and youth in the region.

"These moves on your part, in our view, are intended to bring our Community Parliament closer to the people of the region, and to create awareness amongst our Community citizens about the work of the ECOWAS Parliament", he stated.

Speaker Cisse Lo, in his opening remarks, applauded the concerted efforts of the ECOWAS leaders for the success recorded in the anti-terror campaign so far.

"Indeed, the concerted efforts of our leaders, both at the national and regional levels, in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism, have led to significantly reduce terrorist attacks that sow desolation and cause our populations to mourn on a daily basis", the Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament stated.

The ECOWAS Parliament is 115-Member Parliament which sits in session three times a year with two ordinary sessions in May and September. There may however be an extraordinary session at any time in the course of the year to discuss any urgent and specific agenda.

Liberia has five representatives to the regional parliamentarian body. They are Senators Prince Y. Johnson and George M. Weah of Nimba and Montserrado Counties respectively, and Representatives Jefferson Karmoh, Edwin M. Snowe and Fata H. Siryon of Sinoe, Montserrado and Bomi Counties respectively.

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