Political and security situation top the agenda at the 34th ECOWAS mediation and security council17 May, 2015
|The Ghana Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Hon. Hanna Serwaa Tetteh, has lauded Member States and ECOWAS achievements this year in the area of peace, security and democracy in the region.In her opening address at the 34th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council, Mrs Tetteh, who also doubles as Chairperson of Council commended the peaceful and successful holding of the presidential elections in Nigeria and Togo which attests to West African’s commitment to uphold the tenets of democracy and good governance.
She hoped to see the same spirit that prevailed during these elections inspire Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea to organize such peaceful elections scheduled for this year.
«It is important that our countries are able to create a platform for our people to choose their future leaders in a free, fair and transparent environment», Mrs Tetteh opined. .
She pointed out that ECOWAS election observation missions to Member States holding elections are deployed not solely for the purpose of monitoring the electoral process but also for encouraging and supporting them prior to the elections so that peace and stability are consolidated in those countries during the post-election period.
Referring to the security challenges in some Member States, Mrs Tetteh reaffirmed the need for ECOWAS and its partners to demonstrate a firm commitment against the Boko Haram terrorist group in Nigeria and Niger. She urged governments of countries involved in the fight against this sect not to relent in their efforts to put an end to their atrocities in the sub-region.
Earlier, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo presented the status of cooperation between the West African organisation and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) to tackle the danger that this terrorist movement represents.
He also expressed the region’s solidarity with countries engaged in the fight against the Boko Haram sect and sympathized with those who have lost human lives to their nefarious activities.
Regarding the elections held in the Member States, the Commission President congratulated the Nigerian and Togolese people for the successful conduct of their presidential elections and strongly hoped the elections scheduled for this year in Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea would be conducted in an atmosphere of peace, thereby deepening the democratic culture in West Africa.
With regard to Burkina Faso, the President recalled the initiatives to strengthen and consolidate the transition process since the constitution of the Monitoring and Support Group for the Transition in Burkina Faso (GISAT-BF).
«Despite the remarkable progress achieved in Burkina Faso, there is the need to focus on the organization of elections and to ensure the continuation of a wider consensus based on the transition with a view to consolidating the process and ensuring that peaceful elections are held within the appointed time-frame », he emphasized.
Regarding Guinea, the Commission President contemplated dispatching a high-level fact-finding mission for consultations with the government and all stakeholders with the expectation that the outcome of the mission will make it possible for ECOWAS to identify the best way of settling the crisis among the various stakeholders in the wake of the political upheavals the government’s announcement of the electoral time-table generated.
In the area of democracy, governance and elections, Mr Ouedraogo noted that the region had made considerable progress in building the capacity of the Member States’ electoral commissions. This has led to a significant reduction in election-related violence and a boost of the people’s confidence in institutions that play important roles in the electoral process.
As far as Guinea Bissau is concerned, he recalled ECOWAS and other partners’ support to this Member State to consolidate its post-election period and organize, on 25 March 2015 in Brussels, the donors’ roundtable to obtain the firm support of the international community for its reconstruction and development programme.
At that meeting, the Commission President will present memoranda particularly on the political and security situation as well as elections in the region during this 34th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council which will be concluded in the afternoon and whose deliberations will be held behind closed-doors.
The memoranda on the peace-keeping force in Guinea Bissau (ECOMIB) as well as the review of the ECOWAS Mechanism and Supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance will also be presented to the Mediation and Security Council comprising the Member States’ Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Defense and Security.