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General News of Wednesday, 30 August 2006

Source: GNA

Finland supports ECOWAS Small Arms Control Programme

Accra, Aug. 31, GNA - The Government of Finland is to provide ECOWAS with 750,000 Euros over three years to support the Small Arms Control Programme (ECOSAP) adopted by the Heads of State and Government summit of the sub-regional body in June this year.

In a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed between the ECOWAS Executive Secretary, Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas and Finland's Ambassador, Madam Anna-Lisa Korhonen, in Abuja, in Nigeria on Wednesday, the first instalment would be honoured this year.

The Finnish Ambassador expressed satisfaction with the deepening of relations between the Nordic country and ECOWAS.

She expressed the hope that the agreement would be implemented successfully being the first to be signed on ECOSAP. Dr. Chambas commended the government and people of Finland for the support to West Africa and promised that it would be used judiciously for the ECOSAP project. The grant and other contributions would be paid into an ECOSAP Trust Fund managed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for the activities of the project. Donors pledged 12 million dollars in October 2005 for a five-year transitional capacity building ECOSAP programme under which it would implement a three-year work plan for to member states and the ECOWAS Small Arms Unit.

The Finnish grant is in fulfilment of the country's determination to help in the efforts to reduce the proliferation of small arms responsible for the armed conflicts in West Africa.

The objective of the ECOSAP project is to improve the capacity of ECOWAS states to evolve a comprehensive approach and capability to deal with the challenges of small arms and light weapons within the context of conflict prevention, development and good governance within the sub-region.