Abuja — ECOWAS is to send a delegation to meet with the UN Secretary General in New York to canvass greater efforts by the UN in addressing the security challenges in West Africa, particularly along the border between Cote d'Ivoire and neighbouring Liberia.
The meeting would be held on the margins of the forthcoming General Assembly of the UN. This was one of the decisions of a mini summit held on Saturday, 10th September 2011 in Abuja by leaders of six ECOWAS Heads of State from Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Senegal. The regional leaders expressed concern at the rapidly deteriorating security situation manifested in the increased criminal activities of mercenaries and other non-state groups, the proliferation of small arms and light weapons and the worsening plight of refugees in the region.
The one-day summit, called to review the security situation along the border between the two countries and its potential impact on the impending elections in Liberia, acknowledged the need for closer collaboration between ECOWAS and the UN in creating the requisite environment for the peaceful, free, fair and credible elections in Liberia on 11th October 2011.
In order to avert the possibility of illegal armed groups being used to perpetrate violence and disrupt the elections, the mini summit also urged the UN to intensify joint monitoring and control of the common border by the UN peacekeeping forces in Cote d'Ivoire and Liberia. In this regard, they requested the UN to reinforce its missions in both countries to enable them to discharge this additional mandate. They also directed the President of the ECOWAS Commission to convene a meeting of the Chiefs of Defence Staff (CDS) and Heads of Police of the six Member States on 13th September 2011 in Monrovia to assess the threat posed to the electoral process in Liberia and make appropriate recommendations. This will be followed by a full meeting of the CDS and Heads of Police to consider and validate the recommendations.
The mini summit also instructed the President of the ECOWAS Commission to deploy a Special Envoy to Liberia for the period of the elections and lead a joint delegation of ECOWAS and UN Office in West (UNOWA) to the country to interact with stakeholders in order to stress the imperative of cooperation towards the success of the election.
The leaders also called on Liberians to subordinate their individual and personal interests to that of the country for the successful conduct of the forthcoming election in the country, warning that the region would not tolerate incitement and provocation during the electoral process nor a refusal to accept the outcome of free and fair elections.
In order to address the associated humanitarian crisis, the mini summit instructed the President of the Commission to intensify ECOWAS' efforts in mobilizing humanitarian assistance for the refugees and Internally Displaced Persons along the common border and to facilitate their return and resettlement in collaboration with relevant UN agencies.