Lomé-Togo: President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on Saturday, October 15, 2016 joined colleagues and Heads of State and Government to adopt the African Union Charter on Maritime Security, Safety and Development during the AU Extraordinary Summit held in Lome, Togo. President Sirleaf was met on arrival by Komi Selom Klassou, Prime Minister of Togo at the Gnassingbe Eyadema International Airport Lomé.
According to an Executive Mansion release, the African leaders adopted and signed the Charter at a one-day Extraordinary Summit held in the Togolese capital, Lome.
Addressing the summit, President Sirleaf said: “Liberia whole heartily accept the adoption and signing of the Charter; Liberia would have already signed and will continue to work with all of those in promoting our collective efforts to improve the coordination and improvement of all its activities related to maritime and water waves”.
The Liberian leader said the time spent in Lome could not have been more auspicious for Africa to come together to celebrate history and chart a new course that will not only induce stability and security to our maritime environment, but also spread our collective development.
President Sirleaf furthered – it is critical that the African effort will ensure the safety, security and development of sea, erosion and water waves added that concerns must be shown towards landlocked countries stressing; “While a vast number of Members States of our continental groupings may have access to the sea, the consideration of landlocked countries should be articulated in the Charter so that they don’t lose out on the benefit of the framework”.
President Sirleaf also used the occasion to congratulate Dr. Carlos Lopes, outgoing Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) for his many years of excellent services rendered the continent, and for his audacity in thought as he try to promote the African continent.
It is a historic decision in the history of our continent, which is facing an upsurge of maritime piracy,” she added. She said “This Charter aims at preventing and curbing national and transnational crime, especially terrorism, piracy and armed robbery against ships, as well as all forms of trafficking at sea; also aims at protecting environment in general and particularly maritime environment in coastal and island states, as well as strengthening cooperation in the field; and the Charter commits signatories to creating national, regional and continental institutions to promote maritime security and safety.
The Summit brought together some 30 African Heads of State and Government with the aim of securing a long-term AU commitment to make maritime space the key driver of Africa’s economic and social development.