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The 39th Ordinary Meeting of ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council holds in Abuja
(L-R) President de Souza, Minister Dussey and Commissioner Ahmed

Abuja, 12th December 2017. Security issues and the creation of a more stable region dominated discussions at the 39th Ordinary meeting of the ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council (MSC) at the Ministerial level which held in Abuja, Nigeria on the 12th of December 2017.

Welcoming the Ministers to the meeting, the President of the ECOWAS Commission Marcel de Souza stressed the importance of adopting a comprehensive and all inclusive approach to an enduring security architecture in order to have a more stable region.

The president who gave an overview and a situation report in Member States while briefing the ministers on the social and political developments in the regional community, cited some Member States where terrorism, violent extremism and inter-communal conflict continue to be major threats to peace and security, to include Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Mali, Niger and Nigeria.

Vice President Singhatey, a host of invited guests and ECOWAS Commission’s Commissioners and staff at the background

He emphasized that the establishment of a Police Information System for West Africa (WAPIS) has become more than necessary as ECOWAS Member States are being confronted by the surge in transnational organized crime and terrorism as well as the low level of effective information exchange and coordination law enforcement.

President de Souza stated that it is appropriate in this regard to “adopt a comprehensive and coordinated approach to maritime safety problems, exacerbated by illegal activities in the Gulf of Guinea, taking various forms such as maritime piracy, bunkering, fishing unlawful, unreported and unregulated armed robbery, the dumping of toxic waste, etc.”

He said the prevailing situation had necessitated the creation of multinational maritime coordination centers in addition to the West African Regional Maritime Safety Center (CRESMAO). Other recommendations suitable to the security and electoral situation of concerned Member states were also given.

Apart from the support for electoral activities in member States, the president also noted other security concerns having to do with transhumance, Farmers-pastoralists clashes as well as the scale of humanitarian situation. He stressed that the Commission was on top of the situation.

“It is therefore important to draw the attention of the authorities of the different member countries to the respect of the protocol organizing the corridors, spaces dedicated to the circulation of livestock” The President added.

cross section of Ministers from the region

Prior to his comprehensive briefing, the President congratulated the ministers, for their unwavering commitment to peace, stability and the development of the region stressing that their recommendations and implementation are important towards the attainment of inclusive growth, poverty reduction and tacking of illegal immigration.

Declaring the meeting open, the minister of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and African Integration of Togo and Chair of the MSC professor Robert Dussey stressed the need to consolidate on the gains made so far by the Council.

According to him, it has become more imperative for all security issues with the potential of destabilizing the region to be treated with utmost care.

Among the issues considered by the Ministers were the Report of the 27th meeting of the MSC at the ambassadorial level were memoranda on the political and security situation, and on the status of maritime security in the region.

Others included those of West African Police Information System (WAPIS) as well as the regional conference on the security situation in the Sahel and West Africa.

There were also briefings bordering on national early warning and response mechanisms, the humanitarian situation in the region as well as a presentation of the research by ECOWAS and Training Centres of Excellence (TCEs) on the herder-farmer conflicts in West Africa.

Also on hand to provide support at the meeting were ECOWAS Commission’s Vice President Mr. Edward Singhatey, the Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS) Mrs Halima Ahmed and her counterpart for social Affairs and Gender Mrs Fatimata Dia Sow among others.

The final report of the MSC would be forwarded to the ECOWAS Council of Ministers who meet on the heels of the MSC preparatory to the Summit of the Heads of state and Government on the 16th of December 2017.

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