Accra - Ghana — Defence and security chiefs of ECOWAS troop contributing countries are to meet in Bamako on Sunday 30th June 2013 with UN officials to discuss final modalities for the transformation of the African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA) into the UN mission in that country, MINUSMA.
This was one of the key recommendations of the just-ended two-day 32nd ordinary session of the ECOWAS Committee of Chiefs of Defence Staff (CCDS) in Accra, Ghana.
The Bamako meeting ahead of AFISMA re-hating on 1st July 2013, will involve nine ECOWAS troop contributing nations, the ECOWAS Special Representative in Mali, Ambassador Cheaka Toure, who is also Deputy Head of AFISMA, and the CCDS chairman, Cote d'Ivoire's Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Soumaila Bakayoko.
The participants will discuss personnel, equipment and logistics issues with a view to ensuring a seamless transformation of the 6,237-AFISMA force into a 12,600-strong MINUSMA, UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission before planned national elections in Mali by 28th July.
The CCDS meeting also recommended that the operational capacity of the ECOWAS Mission in Guinea Bissau (ECOMIB) should be strengthened, especially with the provision of adequate accommodation and beefing up ahead of the crucial national elections in that country by the end of the year.
The ECOWAS-supported Defence and Security Sector Reform Programme (DSSRP) should also be implemented effectively, the CCDS recommended.
The CCDS Accra meeting under the theme: “Enhancing ECOWAS Military Cooperation, For Peace, Stability and Development,” also discussed the proposed African Immediate Crisis Response Capacity (AICRC); Maritime Security in the Gulf of Guinea and regional counter-terrorism initiatives.
It was opened by Ghana's Deputy Defence Minister Honourable Ebenezer Okletey Terlabi and addressed by the ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Mrs. Salamatu Hussaini Suleiman.
Also in attendance were the Force Commanders of AFISMA and ECMIB and the Chief of Staff ECOWAS Standby Force Gen. Hassan Lai.