The 37th Ordinary Session of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS ) Chiefs of Defense Staffs commenced yesterday at the Boulevard Palace in Monrovia the Capital of Liberia.
Making his opening remarks, the out-going Chairman of the ECOWAS CDS's who doubles as the Chief of Defense Staffs of Liberia, Brigadier General Daniel Dee Ziankahn admonished members to observe a moment of silence for the victims of the mudslide in Sierra Leone which trapped hundreds and displaced many on August 14 this year.
General Ziankahn said that his tenure was marred by challenges to solve regional issues in Countries like Gambia, which was necessitated by ECOWAS Heads of States for a military intervention and that went successfully, the insurgencies in Mali and Nigeria as terrorist attacks are on the rise, but was able to succeed greatly because of regional cooperation from member states.
"To enhance security and safety in the Gulf of Guinea and the maritime exclusive economic zones, the ECOWAS Commission has stepped up security activities in order to surpass the activities of pirates and other related threats to our marine and maritime integrity. The implementation of the ECOWAS Integrated Maritime Strategy being put in place by the ECOWAS Commission to fight maritime crimes is thus going to be deliberated upon. As you are all aware, our maritime domain has been subdivided into Zones E, F and G for effective monitoring and preventive action. I am aware that the Regional Maritime Centre for West Africa (CRESMAO) is operational in Abidjan, awaiting troop contributions from member states for full operations", General Ziankahn said.
Meeting with the Sierra Leone Chief of Defense Staff Lt. General John Edson. Milton, General Ziankahn said that Sierra Leone has always been a collaborating country to every activities undertaking by Liberia and that the two countries are only separated by geographical boundaries.
The Sierra Leone Chief of Defense Staffs Lt. Gen. Milton said that it is a wonderful occasion to see Heads of securities from the different countries in Africa meeting together to address regional problems as that manifests the unity and self reliant the continent is yearning for.
Gen. Milton said that there are many countries who have never experienced the recent mudslide disaster in Sierra Leone, but participated greatly towards the rescue mission especially Liberia that sent forces with relief items.
"The case in Sierra Leone proves that Africans are now prepared to address African problems not as individuals, but as a nation with collaborative efforts.
Gen. Milton said that ECOWAS forces have been able to intervene successfully into regional problems and the strengthening of the African Union and ECOWAS stand by forces are proactive measures in ensuring that emerging problems are addressed before getting worse.
The Defense Attaché at the Sierra Leone Embassy Lt. Colonel D.B Conteh said that Sierra Leone will ever remain grateful to Liberia as a sister state as both countries continue to monitor the security sector.
The three days session will address the next mission of ECOWAS and the adoption of resolutions.
Togo Chief of Defense Staff's of Defense Brigadier General Titikpina Atcha Mohamed will be succeeding General Ziankahn for the next one year as Chairman of ECOWAS Chief of Defense Staffs'
Recently, the President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was the Chair person of ECOWAS but was succeeded by Togo President Faure Gnassingbe and that automatically shift the position of Chairman for CDS of ECOWAS to Togo CDs.