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ECOWAS President calls for measures to ensure perpetual peace in Africa

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Mr Victor Gbeho, President of Economic Community of West African countries (ECOWAS) on Wednesday called for the establishment of mechanisms to create a congenial atmosphere for peace, unity, development and economic integration in the region.

“You may no doubt also agree with me that without the right political and security environment, our efforts at economic integration and promoting human security will continue to falter on the altar of capital flight and lack of inward investment.”

Mr Gbeho made the call during the opening ceremony of the 39th Ordinary Session of ECOWAS Authority Heads of State and Government, which was attended by Vice President John Dramani Mahama.

The two-day Summit would among other issues consider the 2010 Annual Report of the President of the ECOWAS Commission, the 65th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers and the Report on the 28th Session of the Mediation and Security Council.

Member states would dwell on the current situation in the Ivory Coast, the situation of ECOWAS citizens in Libya, Presidential elections in Niger and Benin and ECOWAS Commissions engagement with Guinea and the launch of the Security Sector Reform Programme in Guinea Bissau.

Mr Gbeho whose tenure of office would be ending on Thursday, March 24 said although the region recorded some political disturbances in Ivory Coast, Guinea and Guinea Bissau during his term of office there were also tremendous restoration of democracy in Guinea and constitutional legality in Niger.

He said the current situation in the Ivory Coast where Laurent Gbagbo was not ready to relinquish power to the winner of the 2010 presidential election was not only inimical to democracy but was  creating wanton violence and political refugees across the borders of the country.

Mr Gbeho called for concerted efforts that would empower member states to advise the Ivorian leader against his current stance.

Said Djinit, Special representative of the United Nations Secretary General in West Africa called on ECOWAS member countries to take a non-violence holistic approach towards the restoration of peace in the Ivory Coast.

He gave the assurance that the United Nations would continue to offer the needed assistance to ECOWAS to ensure that democracy, rule of law, good governance and the promotion of the role of women in the region was instituted.

Mr Goodluck Jonathan, Chairman of ECOWAS pledged Nigeria’s support for the restoration of peace and development in the Ivory Coast and appealed to the United Nations and African Union to strengthen the modalities that would bring about consensus and perfect agreements in the West African State.

“I, as the President of Nigeria want to pledge my support towards the restoration of peace in the Ivory Coast and all other troubled West African States which has gone a long way and there should be no turning back.”

Source: GNA

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