General News of Sunday, 20 January 2013
The Economic Community of West African States on Saturday authorized all troop contributing member states to make their contingents available to the Force Commander to take further action.
The heads of state and government of ECOWAS also endorsed Major General Shehu Usman Abdulkadir of Nigeria and Brigadier General Yaye Garba of Niger as Force Commander and Deputy Force Commander respectively of African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA).
These were contained in a 41-point communiqué issued by members at the end of an extraordinary session of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government in Abidjan.
In attendance were the Presidents of Ghana, Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Liberia, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and ministers from Gambia, Togo, and Cape Verde.
The session was also attended by representatives of the United Nations, African Union, Belgium, Burundi, Canada, Egypt, Germany, Italy, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, South Africa, Spain, Tunisia, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
The communiqué further instructed Desire Quadrego, President of the ECOWAS Commission and his officers to intensify consultations with the government of Mali, the African Union, and the United Nations on the speedy establishment of a functional mission headquarters to facilitate coordination and deployment of AFISMA.
The summit also commended France, Chad and Nigeria for deploying troops to the troubled northern areas of Mali and urged other African countries to contribute troops to avoid further escalation into other parts of the Sahelien country.
“Authority requests the United Nations to provide immediate logistical and financial support for the deployment of AFISMA pending a UN Security Council decision on the UN logistical support package, consistent with UNSC Resolution 2085 (2012).”
On Guinea Bissau, member states pledged their commitment to support the country through her transitional process including the conduct of urgent multi-sectoral reforms and the holding of inclusive, free, fair and transparent elections in the course of the transition.
“The Authority welcomes the accession of all political parties in Guinea Bissau to the Transitional Pact and commends them for their efforts in deepening internal dialogue,” the communiqué said.
The ECOWAS leaders also took the opportunity to congratulate President John Dramani Mahama for his victory and subsequent investiture as the President of Ghana.