General News Mon, 20 Jan 2003

President Returns From Ecowas Meeting

President John Agyekum Kufuor returned to Accra on Monday from Lome, Togo after attending a summit of the High Level ECOWAS Contact Group on the Cote d' Ivoire Crisis where West Africa leaders once again stated their objection to change of governments by unconstitutional means.

They, however, expressed their appreciation at the readiness and commitment of the protagonists to end the armed conflict through negotiations and dialogue for a peaceful and lasting solution to the crisis.

This was contained in a 29-point communiqu? adopted at the end of their meeting in Lome, Togo to finalise a memorandum on the crisis to be submitted to the next peace talks scheduled for France this weekend.

The leaders of Ghana, Nigeria, Togo, Guinea Bissau, Niger and Mali insisted on the factions respecting the terms of the Agreement leading to a definite and complete cessation of hostilities and the quick and effective return of peace to Cote D'Ivoire.


The communiqu? deplored the persistent proliferation of light weapons in the sub-region and appealed to ECOWAS Member States to comply with the obligations contained in the Moratorium on their import, export and the manufacture adopted in Abuja, Nigeria on October 31, 1998.

They noted with regret the use of ex-servicemen and child soldiers in on-going conflicts, which posed a serious danger and constant threat to peace and security in the sub-region and urged the International Community to support appropriate policies aimed at their re-integration into civil life.

They also called on the International Community to support the signing of a global peace and reconciliation agreement, a reconstruction programme for Cote D'Ivoire and the disarming, discharging and the re-integration of ex-servicemen and child soldiers after the signing of a Comprehensive Peace Agreement.