Visiting ECOWAS Commission President Marcel Alain de Souza has considered terrorism as the biggest problem now confronting ECOWAS. The Commission President made the statement in his briefing to President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf – Chairman of ECOWAS on Friday, 17 June in Monrovia.
Speaking through an English interpreter at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Souza said securing the whole region was a concern, and that he was in Liberia to brief President Sirleaf on the “major issues” confronting ECOWAS to also get her directive.
At the meeting, President Sirleaf, however, reaffirmed her pledge in whatever she can do in consultation with her regional colleague and heads of government of ECOWAS to be able to give Mr. Souza all the support needed to execute his work.
“ECOWAS is important to each and every one of us; our aim for integration, for accelerating the development of each of our countries for responding to specific needs such as health and education, cross-border movement that involve many of our people who are trading with each other – all of those things are things that we will be working on,” President Sirleaf said.
She thanked ECOWAS for helping Liberia during the Ebola crisis in Liberia, expressing the regional body’s interest in working through the Togolese President, who has the responsibility for ECOWAS to develop a post-Ebola program to ensure that health care delivery in all of the ECOWAS countries “are so developed to be able to address any infection control to prevent the type of situation we faced.”
While responding to questions from journalists later at the meeting, Mr. Souza said he did not have to wait to work [when] the sub-region is facing Boko Haram now – while also citing the problems in Guinea Bissau, Mali and also other problems which have caused deaths in many countries, among others.
“I and the President [have] decided, in consultation with her peers to take all these problems into consideration as we move. “Without security, there is no development; there is no integration; there is no health system. Nothing happens without security,” Mr. Souza noted.
“Already, concerning Guinea Bissau, President Sirleaf has made contacts with two heads of state who are supposed to visit that country surrounding the situation there; while a summit meeting will take place in Nigerian where there will be troops on the ground,” he indicated, concluding that ECOWAS has taken that decision to make sure that peace is sustained in the sub-region.
By Winston W. Parley-Edited by George Barpeen