West Africa: Ecowas Leaders Meet In Monrovia Over Security Threats

President of the ECOWAS Commission, Ambassador James Victor Gbeho, met with Chiefs of Defence Staff, CDS, and Heads of Police of the six Member States in Monrovia yesterday to assess the threat posed to the electoral process in Liberia and make appropriate recommendations. The meeting was held to satisfy sections of the 10th September communique.

It will be followed by a full meeting of the CDS and Heads of Police to consider and validate the recommendations.

On 10th September, Heads of State of six (6) member nations making up the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, in a mini summit in Abuja agreed in a communique to solicit UN’s assistance in addressing security challenges in West Africa, particularly along the border between Cote d’Ivoire and neighboring Liberia.

In attendance were the Heads of State and Government officials from Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, and Senegal.

The communique reads in part: “The situation is characterized by criminal activities of non-state armed groups by the presence and circulation of small arms and light weapons, plight of refugees, returnees and internally displaced persons.”

One of the things the communique also instructed was for Ambassador Gbeho to deploy a Special Envoy to Liberia for the period of the elections. He was also to lead a joint delegation of ECOWAS and UN Officers in West Africa, UNOWA, to the country to interact with stakeholders in order to stress the importance of cooperation towards the success of the election.

The heads of state also urged the ECOWAS Commission president to collaborate with relevant UN agencies to facilitate the return and resettlement of refugees and internally displaced persons along the borders.

The Commission also reiterated its commitment in ensuring a peaceful Liberia elections adding that, “the region would not tolerate incitement and provocation during the electoral process nor a refusal to accept the outcome of free and fair elections”.

The recommendations from the meeting in Monrovia will be finalized by the CDS’s of all the 15 member states.

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