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Regional News of Friday, 5 May 2006

Source: GNA

ECOWAS fact-finding mission deployed to Guinea Bissau

Accra, May 5, GNA - The Executive Secretary of ECOWAS, Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas, has deployed a fact-finding mission to assess the security, social, humanitarian and political situation in Guinea Bissau. The mission is being dispatched within the framework of the ECOWAS Protocol Relating to the Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management, Resolution, Peacekeeping and Security, which empowers the Executive Secretary to deploy fact-finding missions.

A statement issued by the ECOWAS Secretariat in Abuja and made available to the GNA in Accra said the mission comprised two members of the recently inaugurated 5th ECOWAS Council of Elders, General Seth Obeng, Ghana's former Chief of Defence Staff and Mr Leopold Andre Joseph Ouedraogo from Burkina Faso.

According to its terms of reference, the mission would gather all available information that may assist in ensuring an accurate assessment of the prevailing situation in the country and the promotion of stability.

They are expected to talk with government officials, opposition parties, civil society, representatives of the EU and UN, other development partners, diplomats, the media and other relevant institutions.

It said the mission would also assess any political, diplomatic and humanitarian assistance that ECOWAS might be required to provide in alleviating the suffering of those at the border with Senegal. It is expected that the report and recommendations of the mission would submitted to the Executive Secretary by May 10, 2006 for consideration during the May 15, 2006 meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs in Monrovia, Liberia.