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General News of Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Source: GNA

Kufuor receives UN/ECOWAS joint mission

Accra, Feb. 27, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor on Wednesday received a joint UN/ECOWAS mission that is in Accra as part of on-going consultations for a regional approach to bring peace, security and stability to the north of Mali, Niger and Mauritania where there is renewed rebel activity.

The Tuareg rebels have increased their attacks in recent times despite attempts by the Governments of these countries to dialogue. Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas, President of ECOWAS Commission, who led the mission, said they were in Ghana to brief President Kufuor of the disturbing situation and to seek his advice on how to effectively deal with it as was done in Liberia, Cote d'Ivoire.

He was accompanied by General Lamine Cisse, UN Secretary General's Special Representative to West Africa. They have already been to Guinea, Mauritania, Niger and Mali and would travel to Burkina Faso to meet with ECOWAS Chairman, President Blaise Compaore.

Dr Chambas said what was refreshing was the determination by the international community to work with the sub-regional body to meet the challenges.

He said the UN was closely collaborating with the Commission to strengthen the early warning mechanisms to anticipate some of these problems to ensure peace and stability in the region. President Kufuor said it was important to make the African Union (AU) a part of the effort at finding lasting solution to the situation in Mali, Niger and Mauritania.

He said he was confident that this would lead to a better diagnosis to stop the activities of rebels and traffickers. President Kufuor noted that the borders of Sahelian countries like Mali and Niger were such that, with their limited resources, it would be an uphill task if they were left to tackle the challenges individually. He said it was on the basis of this that the UN's involvement was significant.

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