The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) said it is deeply concerned by the cycle of violence in the sub-region and the fast deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in Cote d’Ivoire.
In a Final Communiqué at the 39th Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government held in Abuja, Nigeria from March 23-24, 2011, ECOWAS said it is considering the situation as a “major threat” to peace and security in the region, the Heads of State and Government decided to adopt urgent measures aimed at preserving life and ensuring the speedy transfer of power from the outgoing President, Mr. Laurent Gbagbo to the President elect H.E. Alassane Ouattara and pacifying the security environment.
After considering the recent developments in the peace and security situation in the region, the Heads of State and Government decided as follows: On Guinea Bissau, the Authority reaffirmed its determination to support the implementation of the Defence and Security Sector Reform Programme (SSRP), as a crucial factor in the process of socio-political stabilisation in Guinea Bissau.
In this regard, they adopted the recommendations of the 28th Session of the Mediation and Security Council and validated the joint roadmap for the implementation of the SSR. The Authority decided to allocate Community funds to the tune of 63 million dollars, to cover the priority activities of the programme particularly in the areas of: To take-off of the pension fund and initial demobilisation, reconversion and socio-economic reintegration operations; and the deployment of a technical assistance team to strengthen and train national units in charge of protecting institutions and VIPs, contribute to protecting the National Inquiry Commission and setting up of a witness protection programme.
While directing the ECOWAS Commission to take all necessary steps to ensure the prompt implementation of this decision, the Heads of State and Government called on the International Community to continue providing support for the socio-economic development of the country, as well as the stabilisation process aimed at pacifying Guinea Bissau.
The Summit reiterates its commitment to assist Guinea Bissau in consultation with all the development partners particularly the European Union (EU).
On Guinea, the Authority hailed the successful completion of the transitional process to restore constitutional order through the conduct of credible presidential elections, culminating in the victory of Prof. Alpha Conde on 7th November 2010.
While congratulating Conde on his victory, the Heads of State and Government also paid tribute to Mr. Cellou Dalein Diallo for demonstrating exemplary statesmanship by gracefully accepting the verdict of the ballot box.
In view of the restoration of democracy, the Authority decided to lift the sanctions imposed on the Republic of Guinea, particularly with regard to its participation in all ECOWAS decision-making bodies and the arms embargo. The Authority also lauded the political maturity of the Guinean people and commended General Sekouba Konate, the Transitional President, for his commitment and exemplary leadership which contributed to the successful completion of Transition.
Furthermore, the Heads of State and Government paid glowing tribute to H.E Blaise Compaore, President of Burkina Faso and ECOWAS Mediator in Guinea, for his mediation efforts in Guinea. The Authority expressed appreciation for the role played by development partners under the umbrella of the International Contact Group in the process.
On the situation in Niger, the Heads of State and Government noted with satisfaction the successful completion of the transitional process to restore constitutional legality through the conduct of credible, transparent and peaceful presidential election. The Summit congratulated H.E Mahamadou Issoufou, the president elect and also paid homage e to Mr. Seini Oumarou for his show of political maturity in accepting the result. In view of this development, the Heads of State and Government decided to lift all sanctions imposed on the Republic of Niger in conformity with Article 45 of the ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance.
The Summit commended the political maturity of the people and all the political stakeholders of Niger for their determination and commitment to the ideals of democracy. In particular, it expressed its appreciation for the role played in the process by all the institutions of the Transition including the Supreme Council for the Restoration of Democracy (CRSD), the National Consultative Council and the organs responsible for the Electoral process. It singled out General Salou Djibo, President of the CSRD, for special praise for faithfully fulfilling his engagement in the process with firmness and determination.
The Heads of State and Government expressed their gratitude to General Abdulsalami A. Abubakar, former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and ECOWAS Mediator in Niger, for his untiring efforts throughout the mediation process.
Finally, Summit highly commended the ECOWAS Commission for its exceptional role in facilitating the restoration of constitutional order in Niger.
Deeply concerned by the cycle of violence and the fast deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in Cote d’Ivoire, and considering the situation as a “major threat” to peace and security in the region, the Heads of State and Government decided to adopt urgent measures aimed at preserving life and ensuring the speedy transfer of power from the outgoing President, Mr. Laurent Gbagbo to the President elect H.E. Alassane Ouattara and pacifying the security environment.
To this end, the Summit adopted a Special Resolution A/RES.1/03/11.
Consolidation of Democracy
The Heads of State and Government noted with satisfaction the efforts by the Region in the entrenchment of democracy and commended Member States, especially Guinea, Burkina Faso, Niger and Benin which, in recent months, held free and transparent elections. The Summit urged all the candidates in the Presidential election of 13 March 2011 in Benin to accept the verdict of the ballot box, and to resort only to constitutional and legal means for the resolution of any possible disputes emanating from the election.
It called on the candidates to respect the final results to be announced by the Constitutional Court. It urged Member States which will be holding elections in the future, notably Nigeria, The Gambia, Cape Verde and Liberia, to take all necessary measures to create optimal conditions for the conduct of peaceful, credible, free and transparent polls, in conformity with the relevant provisions of the ECOWAS Supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance.
On the situation in Libya
The Heads of State and Government affirmed their concern over the situation and commended the African Union and the United Nations Security Council for the measures so far taken to address the precarious situation. The Heads of State further urged the AU and the UN to continue their engagement until the situation is resolved definitively to ensure lasting peace and stability in the country.
The event, held under the Chairmanship of Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Chairman of ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, was witnessed by the presidents of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo. Ghana and The Gambia were represented by their Vice Presidents while Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea and Niger were invited as observers.