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By Victoria Ojeme

Leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have adopted a resolution demanding two permanent seats for Africa in the United Nations Security Council.

This was part of the resolutions contained in a communiqué released at the end of the 62nd Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS held in Abuja, under the chairmanship of Umaro Sissoco Embalo, President of the Republic of Guinea Bissau, and Chair of the Authority.

The resolution said “The Authority of Heads of State and Government, considering the Ezulwini Consensus, the Sirte Declaration, the Common Africa Position (CAP), the Progress Report of the Committee of Ten on the Reform of the United Nations, under the coordination of Sierra Leone, and all related initiatives which consider the principles, objectives and ideals of reforming the United Nations for a fairer world based on universalism, equity regional balance, and ensures Africa’s legitimate rights to a fair and equitable geographical representation, adopts the Abuja Declaration on the Reform of the United Nations Security Council and calls for the allocation of two (2) permanent seats to Africa with all the attendant privileges, including the right of veto, and five (5) non-permanent seats on the Security Council.”

The leaders said they welcome the contribution of the Peace Support Missions deployed by ECOWAS, particularly the ECOWAS Mission in the Gambia (ECOMIG) and the Stabilisation Support Mission in Guinea Bissau (SSMGB).

They resolved to extend the mandate of ECOMIG for a further year from January 1, 2023 and instruct the Commission to consider, within that period, a gradual downsizing of the Mission and commence the training and reorientation of The Gambia Defence and Security Forces to enable them to play their constitutionally assigned roles in a democratic dispensation.

The ECOWAS leaders also urged the Gambian Government to diligently implement the Security Sector Reforms (SSR) and instruct the Commission to ensure that the ECOMIG Force composition reflects a balanced regional outlook comprising troops from the ECOWAS Member States beyond the current countries participating in the Mission.

The Authority reaffirms its strong condemnation of unconstitutional changes of government and underscores the urgent need for collective action to entrench democracy and promote stability in the region.

The Authority reaffirms its determination to scrupulously enforce the principle of ‘Zero tolerance for power obtained or maintained by unconstitutional means’ and to apply without exception the severest of sanctions for non-compliance.

To this end, in accordance with the instructions issued at its 61st Ordinary Session held in Accra, Republic of Ghana on 3 July 2022, the Authority directs the President of the Commission to continue discussions with Member States and if need be, with other stakeholders, with a view to reaching consensus on outstanding issues, to finalise the revision of the 2001 Supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance.

The Authority further directs the President of the Commission to submit the draft revised Supplementary Protocol at its next session.

The Authority also decides to set up a regional force whose mandate will include the restoration of constitutional order where they are threatened in the sub-region.

On unconstitutional changes of government the Authority reaffirms its strong condemnation of unconstitutional changes of government and underscores the urgent need for collective action to entrench democracy and promote stability in the region.

On Transition Processes in the Region the Authority was briefed by the ECOWAS Mediators on the transition processes in Burkina Faso, Guinea and Mali. The Heads of State and Government commended the Mediators for their commitment, which has led to the positive results from in their discussions with the transition authorities in the three Member States and for the quality of their reports. The Authority took note of the recommendations made by the Mediators.

On combating terrorism the Authority expresses grave concern about the worsening regional security situation due to the recurrence and expansion of terrorist attacks and their humanitarian consequences.

In particular, it expresses deep concern over the security situation in Burkina Faso and its possible consequences on the coastal countries and thus calls for urgent measures to support Burkina Faso in its efforts to counter terrorist attacks in the country.

The Authority underscores the urgent need to accelerate the implementation of the ECOWAS 2020-2024 Priority Action Plan to eradicate terrorism, through improved resource mobilisation and strengthening of the region’s operational and logistical capacities to effectively combat the scourge.

On the Single Currency, the Authority takes note of the conclusions of the meeting of the Ministerial Committee on the Single Currency Program of ECOWAS and commends it for the efforts deployed in the search for a consensus on the definition of “majority” within the framework of the Convergence and Macroeconomic Stability Pact among ECOWAS Member States.

Summit instructed the Ministerial Committee to pursue the search for consensual solutions on all outstanding issues with a view to creating harmonious conditions for the launching of the ECO.

On the Common External Tariff the Authority noted with satisfaction the activities undertaken by the Commission and Member States towards the creation of a common market in West Africa.

The Authority adopted the draft Regulation extending the period of implementation of the ECOWAS Supplementary Protection Measures of the Common External Tariff for another five years.

They also reaffirmed their commitment to the promotion of peace, security and stability in the region as prerequisites for the economic development and integration of the region.

They also reaffirmed the inextricable link between the consolidation of peace and security and the harmonious economic development of the region. They reiterate their commitment to the promotion and defence of the principles of democracy, good governance, peace and security as contained in the relevant ECOWAS texts.

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