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“The Socio-Political Crisis In Mali Remains A Priority For Our Region” – S. Ayorkor Botchwey (Video)

The Chair of the Mediation and Security Council of the Economic Community of the West African States (ECOWAS), Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey has hinted that the current socio-political crisis in Mali remains a priority for the Region.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 46th Ordinary Meeting of The ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council at The Ministerial Level, she said “That Respect, I Would Like to Commend the work done by the Mediator, H.E. Goodluck Jonathan, Former President of The Federal Republic of Nigeria. the implementation of the decisions taken at the extraordinary summit of 30th May 2021 in Accra, Ghana. Will be critical in bringing stability in Mali and in our Region”

She also added that during the meeting, ECOWAS will examine proposals to establish the Forum of National Security advisors which will reinforce the security architecture of our region.

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Madam Ayorkor Botchwey further stressed that various actions to ensure concrete and full operationalization of the region’s maritime center will be examined, in view of the deteriorating security in the Gulf of Guinea.

“As usual, we will have an update on the implementation of the National Early Warning Center, and on the humanitarian situation in our region. I am confident that our deliberations today as a community will allow us to make greater progress in bringing peace and security in our region”

The ECOWAS Chair also noted that the opening ceremony will deliberate on critical issues such as the political and security situation in the region with the objective of making recommendations for the consideration of the Authority of Heads of State and Government.

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She explained that the Mediation and Security Council session is taking place against the backdrop of converging potentially existential threats to the region, which could undermine our regional integration process.

“Attacks by terrorists and extremist groups are worsening and cascading across the region, leaving no Member State spared as a potential target. On the political front, the region is concluding a major electoral cycle in which, while all the polls eventually ended peacefully, they were nonetheless characterized, at times, by tensions. The COVID-19 pandemic has also added a new layer of complexity, threatening social cohesion, the welfare of citizens, and economic recovery”

Speaking on challenges of peace and security, she revealed that despite ECOWAS’ strong actions, the security environment across the region has witnessed increasing terrorist attacks.

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She stressed that from the Sahel region through the Lake Chad Basin, attacks from terrorists and violent extremists have morphed with banditry, kidnapping, farmer-herder dynamics, and transnational organized crime to leave a trail of death, destruction, despair, and fear among the populations.

“This is particularly the case in the frontline states of Burkina, Mali, Niger, and Nigeria where these deadly attacks have occurred. No Member State is spared as a potential target. The recent attacks in Burkina which led to 132 deaths among the civilian population, including children, is the latest example of this situation. Indeed, the terrorist groups are currently testing border defenses of coastal nations with a view to extending their reach to the Member States along the Gulf of Guinea”

The Chair who doubles as the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration noted that the Gulf of Guinea itself has recorded the highest incidents of piracy and related maritime criminality in the world.

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She mentioned that the evolving developments in Chad, which straddles the Lake Chad Basin and the G5-Sahel countries, and the recent developments in Mali, could add an aggravating element to the security situation facing the region.

Turning to the state of Democracy and Good Governance in our region, we note that West Africa has made a measurable improvement in democracy with the successful conduct of elections in the several Member States. Despite the challenges and restrictions necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the region managed to maintain the calendars of the constitutionally mandated electoral processes, which have become the norm in the region. In the period under review, Benin and Niger held Presidential elections, while Cabo Verde held legislative elections. This adherence to electoral calendars, with the support of ECOWAS electoral assistance, is helping to consolidate regional democratic culture” she said.

The Chair also said “During the period, in accordance with its modus operandi, our Community through the Commission made arrangements to promote dialogue between stakeholders before and after elections. It also provided electoral assistance to all the Member States organizing elections through technical and financial support, advisory roles, and the deployment of election observer missions. In that regard, the reconstitution of the Council of the Wise, which was inaugurated in Accra on 24 May 2021, is a step in the right direction”

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Thinknewsonline.com has also gathered that the Council of the Wise will be lending the needed support by engaging stakeholders in order to prevent socio-political crises well before they erupt and lead to violence.

Below are pictures and video:

Story by: Joshua Kwabena Smith