You are here: HomeNews2006 06 14Article 105827

General News of Wednesday, 14 June 2006

Source: GNA

ECOWAS recommends adoption of Convention on Arms

Accra, June 14, GNA - The ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council has recommended for adoption by Heads of State and Government the Convention that seeks to ban the transfer of small arms and light weapons into and within the Sub-Region, except for the legitimate security needs of member States or for their participation in peace support operations. The Convention is one of the issues to be considered during the 30th Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government in Abuja. A statement issued on Wednesday by the ECOWAS Secretariat and made available to the GNA said among the various provisions of the Convention were mechanisms for tightening control over the inflow of such arms into the Sub-Region.

These include the establishment of a regional arms register; regulations to control the manufacture and individual ownership of such arms; the establishment of a group of independent experts to assist ECOWAS to monitor implementation and the development by ECOWAS of an operational plan of action for the programme.

The Mediation and Security Council, which comprises ECOWAS Foreign Ministers, endorsed the ECOWAS Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons that was reviewed by regional technical and legal experts at two separate meetings in Bamako, Mali.

The day=92s meeting reviewed the security situation in the Sub-Region, notably Cote d'Ivoire, Liberia, Guinea Bissau and Togo. The statement said while acknowledging the positive developments in these countries, the Ministers called for the intensification of dialogue among the stakeholders in Cote d'Ivoire to ensure the success of the transition programme, particularly the process of citizen identification, disarmament and demobilization.

They also endorsed the establishment of the International Contact Group for Guinea Bissau (ICG-GB) to assist the country in the process of political stabilization and economic recovery.

The Council proposed the inclusion of Guinea Bissau, Liberia and Sierra Leone, which were just out of conflict, in the work plan of the UN Peace Building Commission.

They also called for the lifting of sanctions against Liberia and the travel ban against some Liberians in order to help to consolidate post-conflict development and peace in the country.

The statement said the Ministers condemned the attack on two military bases in Kidal and Meneka, South of Kidal in Mali and commiserated with the Government and people of Mali for the loss of life suffered in the incidents.

It said the Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas, ECOWAS Executive Secretary, addressed the Council at the opening of their meeting, recommended the adoption of the Convention, describing it as a further step not only in the process of making the Sub Region a zone free of conflict but also in helping to reduce the threat to peace, security and stability in the area.

He also briefed them on the worsening financial situation of the Government of Guinea Bissau, which was in arrears in the payment of salaries of public servants, adding that the political situation required the engagement, interaction and dialogue of the stakeholders. 14 June 06