Ms Hannah Tetteh, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, has appealed to security experts to create national framework for conflict prevention in Africa.
She said they should develop strategies which would help African countries especially those coming out of conflict to avoid its recurrence.
Ms Tetteh was speaking at the opening of the “Mali after Action review conference,” at Akosombo in the Eastern region.
The three-day conference organized by the ECOWAS Commission is being attended by experts, development partners, civil society groups and policy makers from ECOWAS member states.
She said the Mali conflict should also be a wake-up call for the experts to come out with practical and innovative means of resolving conflicts in the sub-region.
Ms Tetteh stated that the timing of the conference was also significant because it vindicated the wisdom and leadership of the ECOWAS mediation efforts in Mali and other conflict situations in the region.
She said the ECOWAS mediation team led by President Blaize Compoare of Burkina Faso and supported by the Commission had shown the world that African problems were better handled with African solutions, especially by applying basic international standards of human rights and the rule of law with traditional mediation capacity and wisdom.
“We have seen this play out successfully in Togo and Niger in the area of prevention, and Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea Bissau in crisis management and mediation,” she stated.
Ms Tetteh said the United Nations Security Council recently organized a field mission to Mali to assess the current situation on the ground for possible assistance.
Mr Kadre Desire Ouedraogo, President of the ECOWAS Commission, stated that the clear and unambiguous message sent by ECOWAS Heads of States during their summit in Abuja to the insurgents in Mali served notice of the Region’s determination to help Mali safeguard its unity and territorial integrity.
He announced that the Commission intended to expedite a review of the ECOWAS Peace and Security architecture with regard to preventive diplomacy and rapid military response capabilities against the background of the lessons learned in Mali.
Mr Ouedraogo said ECOWAS was confronted with formidable challenges in Mali in terms of the Sahelian terrain, unfamiliar to several of the Armed Forces of member states, but also had to deal with an unfamiliar foe being terrorism.
He said the region’s military preparation and deployment were severely handicapped by formidable financial, logistical and strategic lift challenges.
Mr Ouedraogo therefore called for the strengthening and operationalisation of the Peace and Security architecture of ECOWAS in the areas of early warning, preventive diplomacy, as well as the setting up of an ECOWAS Standby Force.
He urged the participants attending the conference to come up with pertinent recommendations to help ECOWAS and the sub-region to improve upon their conflict management and resolution capacity.