ECOWAS Calls for Deployment of Troops to Guinea-Bissau
    2009-03-23 21:40:02     Xinhua      Web Editor: Qin Mei

Foreign ministers from The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) at the weekend pushed for deployment of troops to Guinea-Bissau after ending its 26th meeting in Guinea.

The ministers directed that the mechanism be put in place to deploy military and police contingents to protect democracy, important people and the electoral process in Guinea-Bissau, the Compass newspaper reported on Monday.

They also directed the Commission to liaise and work closely with the international community, especially the United Nations ( UN) to ensure an early deployment.

The ministers called for an immediate convocation of a meeting in Cape Verde to ensure the implementation of the resolutions.

The one-day meeting which was dominated by the Guinea-Bissau issue, urged the ECOWAS to work with the African Union (AU) and the UN to facilitate the immediate establishment of an international commission of inquiry that will investigate various events in the country since August 2008.

Such events, they reasoned, have the potential of destabilizing the country if not properly addressed.

According to a statement from the ECOWAS commission, the meeting also considered the issue of drug trafficking within members and recommended that immediate steps be taken to address the problem, through the implementation of the ECOWAS Action Plan, using Cape Verde, Guinea and Guinea-Bissau as pilot countries.

The ministers urged the ECOWAS to facilitate the strengthening of the institutional capacity of its commission to effectively monitor the situation in collaboration with relevant international agencies, including the UN, INTERPOL and EUROPOL.

It recommended greater cooperation between countries of origin, transit and destination to ensure a holistic control of the supply and demand chain.

On the presidential elections to replace Guinea-Bissau's President Joao Bernado Vieira who was killed on March 2, the ministers urged the interim president to ensure that the process is free, fair, transparent and credible in accordance with constitutional provisions.

They called on the interim president to undertake wide-range consultations with all political forces and actors to deepen national consensus on the transition process.

The body pledged to contribute financially to the election as well as canvas for additional technical and financial supports for the election, which constitutionally should be held within two months after the death of the president.

The one-day meeting however urged ECOWAS, the AU and the international community to work closely with Guinea-Bissau with a view to rebuilding its economy and creating employment opportunities, as well as ensuring fiscal discipline and efficient management of resources.


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