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General News of Thursday, 31 July 2003

Source: GNA

ECOWAS Heads of State and Govt issue Communique


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Accra, July 31, GNA - Herewith the full text of the Communiqu=E9 issued at the end the Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government of Economic Community of West African States held in Accra on Thursday:

TEXT:

Extraordinary Summit Of ECOWAS Heads Of State And Government On The Situation In Liberia

Accra, July 31, 2003.

FINAL COMMUNIQUE

1. An extraordinary session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was convened in Accra, Ghana on 31st July, 2003 by His Excellency, President John Agyekum Kufuor, President of the Republic of Ghana and current Chairman of ECOWAS Authority.

2. The Summit considered the security situation in Liberia, characterised by continuing hostilities and its implications for Liberia and the Sub-Region.

3. Present at the session were the following Heads of State and Government or their duly Accredited Representatives

His Excellency John Agyekum Kufuor President of the Republic of Ghana and Current Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority

His Excellency Olusegun Obasanjo President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria

His Excellency Gnassingbe Eyadema President of the Togolese Republic

Her Excellency Isatou Njie-Saidy Vice President of the Republic of The Gambia

His Excellency Mr Lamine Sidime Prime Minister of the Republic of Guinea

His Excellency Youssouf Ouedraogo Minister of State, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional co-operation representing the President of Bukina Faso

Mr Mel-Eg Theodore Minister of State for African Integration, Representing the President of the Republic of Cote d'Ivoire

Rt. Hon. Nyundueh Monokormana Speaker of the Parliament of the Republic of Liberia, Representing the President of Liberia

Mr Moumouni Djermakoye Adamou Minister of State in charge of African Integration and NEPAD Programmes, representing the President of the Republic of Niger

Mr Bruno Amoussou Minister of State in Charge of Unification, Prospecting and Development, Representing the President of the Republic of Benin

His Excellency Mohamed Mahmoud Ben Labat Ambassador of the Republic of Mali to the Republic of Ghana, Representing the President of the Republic Mali

His Excellency Mr. Alli Bangura High Commission of Republic of Sierra Leone to Ghana, Representing the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone

Mr Alioune Diagne Ambassador of the Republic of Senegal to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Representing the President of the Republic of Senegal

4. The following personalities also attended the extraordinary session:

General Abubakar Abdulsalami Former Head of State of Nigeria and Mediator for the ECOWAS Peace Process on Liberia

Mr Ahmedou Ould Abdallah Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General for the United Nations Office in West Africa.

5. The Heads of State and Government, after extensive deliberations on the current situation in Liberia, expressed grave concern over the continued fighting, which has resulted in the loss of lives and displacement of the peoples of Liberia.

6. The Heads of State and Government unequivocally condemned the warring parties for their roles in the ongoing hostilities and for the flagrant violation of the Ceasefire Agreement signed by them on 17th June 2003.

7. They expressed deep concern about the daily deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in Liberia and especially the disheartening condition under which the civilian population of Monrovia has been forced to live in the last two weeks.

8. The Heads of State reiterated the position of ECOWAS on the non-recognition of any take-over of power by force and thus re-affirmed their support for the ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance of 2001 and the OAU/AU's 1999 Decision in Algiers, both of which condemn unconstitutional change of government.

9. They called for an immediate Ceasefire and Cessation of Hostilities and respect by the warring parties, for their commitments under the Ceasefire Agreement.

10. The Heads of State and Government reaffirmed their full support for the ECOWAS Peace Process for Liberia and the Mediation process that is being conducted in Accra, which provides a forum for political dialogue. They reiterated their position that durable peace could only come to Liberia through dialogue and negotiation.

11. They called upon the Liberian stakeholders at the Accra Peace Talks to redouble their efforts to arrive at a comprehensive peace agreement

12. The Heads of State and Government expressed their appreciation to General Abubakar Abdulsalami for the time and effort he is dedicating to the Mediation process and commended members of the International Contact Group on Liberia (ICGL) for facilitating the process.

13. The Heads of State and Government formally approved the deployment into Liberia of the Vanguard Interposition Force, (ECOMILI) calling for an early deployment latest by 4th August 2003.

14. The Heads of State and Government welcomed the appointment of General Festus Okonkwo as the Force Commander for ECOMIL and also directed the Executive Secretary of ECOWAS to immediately commence the process for the appointment of his Special Representative in Liberia.

15 The Heads of State and Government expressed their appreciation to President Olusegun Obasanjo and the People of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for offering political asylum to President Taylor and for taking the initiative for the immediate deployment of a Vanguard Force of 1,500 into Liberia.

16. The Heads of State and Government called on ECOWAS troop contributing States to ensure an early deployment of the additional troops within three weeks of the deployment of the Nigerian Troops.

17. The Heads of State and Government commit themselves to an immediate financial contribution into the ECOWAS Peace Fund, which will help facilitate the deployment of the ECOWAS Mission in Liberia. The Heads of State and Government agreed that an assessed contribution should be paid by each Member State into the ECOWAS Peace Fund to ensure a proportional sharing of the burden of the peace effort in Liberia.

18. The Heads of State and Government welcomed the invitation from the Government of Liberia to the ECOWAS to deploy its troops. They also took note of the pledge by LURD to turn over the Freeport of Monrovia to the ECOWAS forces.

19. The Heads of State and Government reaffirm the commitments made under the 1978 ECOWAS Protocol on non-Aggression not to encourage or condone acts of subversion, hostility or aggression against the territorial integrity of other Member States. They also commit themselves to disallow the use of their territories for mercenary activities.

20. The Heads of State and Government called for the establishment of Transitional Government in Liberia upon the deployment of the troops and the departure of President Taylor, which will begin the process for the restoration of democratic governance. They expressed the wish that the Transitional Government operates as closely as possible to the 1986 Liberian Constitution.

21. They decided to dispatch to Monrovia a delegation comprising the Foreign Ministers of Ghana, Nigeria, Togo and the Executive Secretary of ECOWAS to inform President Taylor about the outcome of the extraordinary summit and to make arrangements for his handover of power and departure from the country.

22. The Heads of State and Government decided that the first task of the ECOWAS Vanguard Force should be to provide the appropriate conditions for the handover of power and departure from Liberia of President Charles Taylor. It was agreed that within three days of the entry of the ECOWAS troops into Liberia, President Taylor will handover power to his successor, and depart for Nigeria.

23. The Heads of State and Government were of the view that no Leader of the three Warring Parties should occupy the positions of President and Vice President in the Transitional Government of Liberia.

24. The Heads of State and Government welcomed the support so far offered to ECOWAS by the international community, in particular, the United Nations, the European Union, the United States and Japan.

25. They commended President Bush of the United States for the principal role his country is playing towards the deployment of the ECOWAS Mission in Liberia.

26. The ECOWAS Heads of State and Government also applauded the role of the United Nations Secretary-General, Busumuru Kofi Annan, in facilitating the speedy deployment of the Vanguard Force with logistical and other support of the United Nations.

27. The Heads of State and Government also lauded the African Union and International Contact Group on Liberia for their continued support of the peace efforts on Liberia.

28. They expressed profound gratitude to President Kufuor, Chairman of ECOWAS and President of the Republic of Ghana, for this exemplary leadership and for his untiring efforts in the search for sustainable peace in Liberia. They further expressed appreciation to the Government and People of Ghana for their generosity in hosting the Accra Peace Talks and this extraordinary summit.

Done in Accra this 31st day of July 2003.

END TEXT.

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