The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has held both its 41st Ordinary Session of Mediation and Security Council (MSC) at the Ministerial Level and 81st Ordinary Session of Council of Ministers.
Both meetings which held at the ECOWAS Commission in Abuja took place on the 13th and 14th of December, 2018 respectively.
A release from the Liberian Embassy in Abuja says Ministers of Defense and Security as well Foreign Affairs, heads of ECOWAS institutions, members of the diplomatic corps and representatives of international organizations attended the end-of-year meetings which are precursors to the ECOWAS Summit of Heads of State and Government scheduled for December 22, 2018 in Abuja.
According to the release, Foreign Minister Gbezohngar M. Findley represented Liberia during the Council of Ministers’ meeting, accompanied by Liberia’s Ambassador to Nigeria and Permanent Representative to ECOWAS, Professor Al-Hassan Conteh.
In his opening remarks during the Council of Ministers, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr. Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, reaffirmed the Managements’ commitment to execute its mandate.
Promising to present the annual report of ECOWAS, President Brou also assured the ministers, ambassadors and delegates from Member States to give an overview of the trends in the region’s main political, social, economic and human indicators with emphasis on issues affecting the region’s trade liberalization scheme which he said is the basis of the region’s common market.
For his part, the Chair of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers, Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Honorable Geoffrey Onyeama, noted that the path to the full integration of the region is still marked by obstacles in the areas of free movement of people, goods and services.
The Nigerian Foreign Minister said the Ministers would use this opportunity to review the report of the task force on the implementation of the region’s free trade protocol.
“It is therefore our collective responsibility to ensure that at the national level, relevant regional protocols are domesticated and effectively implemented”, the release quotes Minister Onyeama as stating.
In line with the established practice, the session went into closed discussions to examine the draft budget of ECOWAS’ institutions for the year 2019, as well as to deliberate on various issues and information tabled before them ahead of the Summit of the Heads of State and Government slated in a week’s time in Abuja.
Meanwhile, the release also adds that a day earlier during the 41st Ordinary Session of the Mediation and Security Council (MSC), President Brou lauded the collective approach to peace and regional security as well as the strong sense of belonging to ECOWAS demonstrated by Member States.
This, he said, was in line with the needed solidarity which guides the interventions of ECOWAS particularly in the field of peace, security and stability.
“This willingness and solidarity is particularly evident in countries facing political crises, particularly in Guinea Bissau, The Gambia and Togo, where the Community spares no effort to find a lasting solution” President Brou added.
For his opening remarks, the chair of the MSC and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Nigeria, Honorable Geoffrey Onyeama, disclosed that the findings from the previous meetings of the MSC revealed that peace and security sustainability can only be achieved through the promotion of good governance and viable democracy.
Drawing attention also to the impending presidential and legislative elections in some Member States, Minister Onyeama said the scheduled exercises provide the opportunity for the region to once again “demonstrate its agility, as a pioneer in the continent to enthrone full democratic governance in all member countries”
The MSC then retired into closed door discussions where the political and security situation in the region was discussed, the release concludes.