Posted: Saturday 31st May 2014 at 13:36 pm

ECOWAS gives backing to Nigeria to wage war on Boko Haram


ECOWAS leaders have given full backing to the decision by Nigerian government to wage an all-out war on the Boko Haram sect.

The regional body welcomed the measures adopted by the Nigerian government to bring the insurgency to an end, particularly in the Northern States.

A communiqué  issued in Accra at the end of the extraordinary session of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government also encouraged President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to continue to be steadfast in mobilizing all the forces in the country in order to put an urgent end to these acts of terrorism.

The Summit also encouraged the Government to pursue national dialogue and reconciliation.

On the Security Situation in Northern Mali the Heads of State and Government strongly condemned the deplorable acts of violence and killing perpetrated by separatist and terrorist groups in Kidal and its adjoining towns in the North as well as the hostage-taking and seizing of administrative buildings in that part of the Malian territory between 17 and 21 May 2014.

“The Authority believes that the assassination of defenseless civil servants in the performance of their duties constitutes a flagrant and deliberate violation of the Ouagadougou Agreement. It requests that the perpetrators of these atrocities are identified and punished according to the law”.

The leaders also hailed Ghana’s president and Chair of the body, John Dramani Mahama for the steps taken to provide a regional response to the security challenge posed by the Boko Haram sect.

Read the communiqué below:
 
EXTRAORDINARY SESSION OF THE AUTHORITY 
OF ECOWAS HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT
Accra, Republic of Ghana, 30 May 2014
DRAFT FINAL COMMUNIQUE
1.    At the invitation of H.E. John Dramani Mahama, President of the Republic of Ghana, and Current ECOWAS Chairman, the Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States held an Extraordinary Session in Accra, Republic of Ghana on 30 May 2014, to review the security situation in the region, particularly in Northern Mali and Northern Nigeria as well as recent developments in the political situation in Guinea Bissau.

2.    The following Heads of State and Government or their duly accredited representatives were present:

-    H.E. Thomas Boni YAYI, President of the Republic of Benin

-    H.E. Blaise COMPAORE, President of Burkina Faso

-    H.E. Alassane OUATTARA, President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire

-    H.E. John Dramani MAHAMA, President of the Republic of Ghana

-    H.E. Ibrahim Boubacar KEITA, President of the Republic of Mali

-    H.E. Mahamadou ISSOUFOU, President of the Republic of Niger

-    H.E. Goodluck Ebele JONATHAN, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria

-    H.E. Macky SALL, President of the Republic of Senegal

-     H.E. Ernest Bai KOROMA, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone

-    H.E. Joseph M. BOAKAI, Vice President of the Republic of Liberia

-    H.E. Abdou KOLLEY, Minister of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment of the Republic of The Gambia

-    H.E. Lonseny FALL, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Guinea 

3.    The Heads of State and Government took note of the memoranda of the President of the Commission on the security situation in Northern Mali and Northern Nigeria as well as on the political situation in Guinea Bissau.

4.    The Heads of State and Government expressed deep concern over the recent deterioration in the security situation in the Kidal region as well as over the bloody and recurrent attacks perpetrated particularly by the Boko Haram sect in parts of Northern Nigeria. The Authority strongly condemns these acts of terrorism as well as kidnapping and hostage-taking, then expressed solidarity with Mali and Nigeria in these difficult times.

5.    After an in-depth review, the Authority reaffirmed its determination to actively combat the threats posed by terrorism to regional and international peace and security. While endorsing the main recommendations contained in the various reports, the Heads of State and Government took the following specific decisions:

On the Security Situation in Northern Mali
6.    The Heads of State and Government strongly condemn the deplorable acts of violence and killing perpetrated by separatist and terrorist groups in Kidal and its adjoining towns in the North as well as the hostage-taking and seizing of administrative buildings in that part of the Malian territory between 17 and 21 May 2014. The Authority believes that the assassination of defenseless civil servants in the performance of their duties constitutes a flagrant and deliberate violation of the Ouagadougou Agreement. It requests that the perpetrators of these atrocities are identified and punished according to the law.

  
7.    The Heads of State and Government pay tribute to the memory of members of the Malian Defence and Security Forces, as well as civilians killed during these recent events. The Heads of State and Government offer heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families.

8.    The Authority reaffirms its commitment to preserve the unity, territorial integrity and the secular nature of the Malian State and demands the immediate withdrawal of the armed groups from the public buildings and occupied areas, and return to the pre-17 May positions.

9.    To help Mali effectively regain sovereignty throughout the territory including Kidal, the Authority invites the United Nations Security Council to enhance MINUSMA’s mandate and strength to enable it carry out its mission as guarantor in the application of the Ouagadougou Agreement.

10.    The Authority reaffirms its commitment to preserve the unity, integrity and sovereignty of Mali and demands the immediate withdrawal of non-state armed groups from public buildings and occupied areas, and return to their pre-17 May positions. 

 
11.    The Heads of State and Government welcome the initiatives of the United Nations and the Current African Union Chairman, H.E. Mouhamed Ould Abdel Aziz, President of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, for facilitating the signing of a ceasefire agreement between the Government and the non-state armed groups in Northern Mali on 23 May 2014.

12.    The Authority urges all the stakeholders to strictly adhere to the sacrosanct nature of the ceasefire agreement and ensure its application, whilst the Malian Government with support from the International Community to find a political solution to the issues at stake. 

13.    In this vein, the Summit restates its earlier call on the Government of Mali to take full responsibility for, and expedite the preparation and conduct of, the inclusive Inter-Malian Dialogue. ECOWAS fully supports the actions of the recently appointed High Representative by the Head of State to lead the inclusive peace talk with the rebel groups and all the communities in Northern Mali. 

14.    The Summit also urges the Malian Government to effectively constitute the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission in order to expedite the process of national reconciliation, unity, integrity and stability of the country.

15.     The Heads of State and Government reaffirm their commitment to the inclusive Inter-Malian Dialogue, in line with the Principles of the Ouagadougou Preliminary Agreement, and express their availability to support any effort by the Malian Government aimed at finding a lasting political solution to the crisis.

16.    The Authority pays glowing tribute to Their Excellencies Blaise Compaoré, President of Faso and ECOWAS Mediator for Mali and Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Associate Mediator, for their continued commitment to finding a political solution to the crisis in Northern Mali. 

17.    The Authority believes that ECOWAS mediation remains the way forward in supporting Mali to find political solution to the crisis and this ought to be backed by other initiatives.

18.    The Authority expresses appreciation to the United Nations, the African Union and France as well as to all the partners for their role in containing the latest wave of crisis and for their steadfast support to lasting peace, stability and reconciliation in Mali. 

19.    The Authority requests the United Nations Security Council to take all the necessary measures including impose targeted sanctions against the armed groups or individuals who impede the peace process.

20.    The Summit renews its support to the Government and People of Mali, in particular to H.E. Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, President of the Republic of Mali for their determined efforts to ensure economic reconstruction, and the consolidation of peace, national unity and the territorial integrity of the country. 

21.    The Summit appeals to the International Community, partners and donors to continue to support these efforts, especially the humanitarian assistance to displaced people and refugees in neighboring States. 

On the Security Situation in Northern Nigeria
22.    The Heads of State and Government express heartfelt sympathy and solidarity with H.E. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the entire people of Nigeria for the loss of lives and economic losses caused by Boko Haram’s terrorist acts. The Authority strongly condemns these acts of terrorism that threaten regional peace and security. 

23.    The Heads of State and Government welcome the measures adopted by the Nigerian government to bring the insurgency to an end, particularly in the Northern States. They encourage President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to continue to be steadfast in mobilizing all the forces in the country in order to put an urgent end to these acts of terrorism. The Summit also encourages the Government to pursue national dialogue and reconciliation. 

24.     The Authority commends the mobilization of the International Community behind Nigeria. It expresses appreciation to partners in particular France, the United States, the United Kingdom, People’s Republic of China, Israel, the African Union and the United Nations for their cooperation and support in the ongoing efforts to rescue the abducted Chibok’s schoolgirls by Boko Haram as well as in the ongoing fight against this terrorist group.

25.    The Authority further commends the positive outcome of the 17 May 2014 Paris Summit on the security situation in Nigeria. More importantly, it welcomes the commitments made with a view to strengthening bilateral, regional and multilateral cooperation in the fight against the terrorist group, Boko Haram.

26.    The Heads of State and Government commend H.E. John Dramani Mahama President of the Republic of Ghana, and Current Chairman of the Authority of Heads of State and Government for the steps taken to provide a regional response to the security challenge posed by the Boko Haram sect. 

27.    The Authority urges the Member States to strengthen their cooperation particularly in information sharing and in coordinating the efforts of intelligence services and in law enforcement. 

28.    To that end, the Authority decides to establish a high-level partnership with Central African States to effectively combat terrorism. It urges the member countries of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) to pursue the operationalization efforts of their action plan and cooperation in the fight against terrorism. It also supports the development programmes of the Lac Chad Basin.

29.    The Authority urges the Member States to enhance their defence and security system through increased human capacities and the provision of adequate equipment.

30.    The Authority directs the President of the Commission to take all the necessary measures in that regard and support the Member States in the expeditious implementation of the ECOWAS Counter-Terrorism Strategy.

31.    With a view to ensuring a better coordination of ECOWAS support to the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the fight against terrorism, the Authority took some special measures.

32.    The Authority calls for the diligent implementation of the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel and the operationalization of the ECOWAS Sahel Strategy.

On Guinea Bissau
33.     The Authority welcomes the successful conclusion of the transition process in Guinea Bissau which resulted in the smooth holding of the general elections in transparent and peaceful conditions.  

34.    The Summit commends H.E. Manuel Sérifo Nhamajo, Interim President, the Transitional Government, the Popular National Assembly, the Electoral Management Bodies, the political parties and the entire people of Guinea Bissau for their self-sacrifice and determination in bringing the transitional process to a successful end.

35.    The Authority extends warm congratulations to H.E. José Mario Vaz, President-elect of the Republic of Guinea Bissau.

36.    To forge national consensus and mobilize all the forces in the country towards the urgent post-electoral task in Guinea Bissau, the Heads of State and Government encourage the incoming administration to adopt an all-inclusive governance system.

37.     The Authority urges them to adopt and implement a comprehensive reform agenda, with the assistance of ECOWAS and all the International Community, encompassing national dialogue and reconciliation, economic recovery, reform of state’s institutions, and processes to sustain the stabilization and recovery efforts.

38.    The Authority expresses deep gratitude to H.E. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Chairman of the Regional Contact Group on Guinea Bissau (RCG-GB) and the members of the Group, as well as H.E. Alpha Condé, Mediator in the crisis in Guinea Bissau, for their assistance to the country and their valuable contribution in ensuring a successful conclusion of the transition process in Guinea Bissau.

39.    The Heads of State and Government express profound gratitude to H.E. John Dramani Mahama, President of the Republic of Ghana, and Current ECOWAS Chairman, the Government and People of Ghana, for the warm welcome extended to them as well as for the excellent facilities placed at their disposal to ensure the success of their Summit.

40.    The Heads of State and Government decide to remain seized of the political and security situation in West Africa.

Done at Accra, this 30th day of May 2014
THE AUTHORITY

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