Insecurity: ECOWAS, diplomatic corps strategise on peace, security in West Africa

From Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja

The Department of Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS) of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, in a recent move, held a strategic meeting with some political officers and military advisors of the diplomatic corps accredited to Nigeria and ECOWAS.

The meeting, according to the Communications Division, ECOWAS Commission, was to deliberate on the peace and security way forward in the West African region.

The virtual meeting, the ECOWAS Commission also said, had in attendance, representatives of Permanent Member Countries of the United Nations Security Council (UN-P5) and regional neighbouring countries.

“Also in attendance for at the debriefing on outcomes and updates of peace and security meetings and political initiatives, were the Development Partners, UNOWAS, West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP), ECOWAS Permanent Representatives to Member States, ECOWAS PAPS, Early Warning and External Relations, staff,” the ECOWAS Commission said.

Addressing the conferees, the ECOWAS Commission’s Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, General Francis Behanzin, affirmed the determination of ECOWAS to continuously improve the political and security landscape of the region.

“With particular reference to states undergoing political and constitutional reforms, he stated that ECOWAS is actively involved in supporting political stability and the consolidation of the democratic processes. He added that the implementation of political actions required the cooperation of all stakeholders and partners,” the ECOWAS Commission also said.

Admitting that regional stability has been threatened by persistent attacks by terrorist movements and other armed groups, particularly in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and North-East Nigeria and in the Lake Chad Basin region, while the new incursions into Northern Côte d’Ivoire has further exacerbated the challenges, Behanzin stated that the exchanges of the meeting and at subsequent fora will “generate proposals and solutions capable of providing appropriate responses to these new threats.”

“The Co-chair of the Development Partners Thematic Group on Peace and Security and representative of the European Union Delegation (EU) Delegation, Madam Tassin-Pelzer Cecile, commended ECOWAS for its role in the efforts to bring about a more peaceful and stable region. While giving assurances of sustained collaboration, she recalled the portfolio of the EU Support to the ECOWAS Peace and Security Architecture and Operations (EPSAO), the EU’s Peace, Security and Stability Programme (PSS), among others and assured of the EU Delegation’s commitment to the ECOWAS’ vision of peace, stability and prosperity.

“The Commission’s Directors of Political Affairs, Dr. Aderemi Ajibewa and his Peacekeeping and Regional Security counterpart, Dr. Cyriaque Agnekethom, debriefed on the political and security situation in the region, the strides made so far to create political stability, containment of existing and emerging threats to peace, the challenges encountered, as well as the overall road map being charted using the various instruments at the disposal of the regional community.

“The participants were further briefed by officers of PAPS on lessons learnt from the on-going processes, peace building and mediation missions, electoral assistance, the institutional reforms and maritime security. Germaine Questions raised were fielded through a healthy exchange of ideas and briefs. Participants commended the PAPS Department for the initiative and called for continuous exchanges on regional peace and security issues.

“The ECOWAS-Diplomatic Corps meeting builds on the previous one held in March, 2021. A report of the meeting is being expected as part of support documents, facilitating the consolidation of peace, security and stability of the region,” the ECOWAS Commission further said.

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