Accra - Ghana — Ghana's President John Dramani Mahama has called for "vigilance, attention and more hard work" to consolidate the gains from efforts at returning Mali to democracy and sustainable peace after last year's military coup and rebel insurrection in the north of the country.
Receiving a delegation of ECOWAS Committee of Chiefs of Defence Staff (CCDS), which paid him a courtesy visit at the Flagstaff House, Accra on Thursday, 27th June 2013, he said with the imminent replacement of the African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA) by a UN mission, MINUSMA on 1st July, sustained support was needed to restore lasting peace to the country.
"Common security is an interconnected issue and since no country can go it alone, there is no alternative than to work collectively," the President affirmed, adding that dialogue remains the best way for conflict resolution while military option should be the last resort.
President Mahama expressed satisfaction at the progress being made in Mali and Guinea Bissau, where ECOWAS is leading international efforts at crisis resolution, but insisted that peace or democracy cannot thrive in a situation of violence or insecurity.
He said the positive economic growth rate of between 5% and 6% being recorded by many African countries will only sustained or surpassed if peace and security are guaranteed.
The President said the ongoing 32nd Ordinary session of the CCDS in Accra could not have come at a better time, given the myriad security challenges facing the region, including piracy, all of which, he noted must be addressed through strategic and coordinated efforts.
The CCDS chair and Cote d'Ivoire's Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Soumaila Bakayoko, who led the delegation to the State House, told the President that issues dominating the Accra meeting included the re-hating of AFISMA; the ECOWAS-supported defence and security sector reform in Guinea Bissau ahead of the country's national elections, as well as maritime security threats in the Gulf of Guinea.
Also on the delegation to the Flagstaff House were the ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Mrs. Salamatu Hussaini Suleiman, the ECOWAS Special Representative in Mali and Deputy Head of AFISMA, Ambassador Cheichk Toure, and the Force Commanders of AFISMA and ECOMIB, the ECOWAS Mission in Guinea Bissau.