From L-R Deputy Minister of Defence Sam Collins, Dr. Josephine Nkrumah, ECOWAS Special Representative, Dr. Al-Hassan Conteh, Liberia's Permanent Representative to ECOWAS, Mr. Richard Kamara, Defence Expert, Mr. Anthony Kpalleh, Foreign Affairs Expert

Liberia Participates in ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council Meeting in Guinea Bissau

(Abuja, JULY 5, 2023):

From L-R Deputy Minister of Defence Sam Collins, Dr. Josephine Nkrumah, ECOWAS Special Representative, Dr. Al-Hassan Conteh, Liberia’s Permanent Representative to ECOWAS, Mr. Richard Kamara, Defence Expert, Mr. Anthony Kpalleh, Foreign Affairs Expert

The 50th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council (MSC) was held in Bissau, Guinea Bissau, on July 5, 2023, with a focus on the current issues affecting the political and security situation in the ECOWAS region.

This year meeting took place amidst the slow processes in the transition towards democracy in Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali, the three ECOWAS Member States that experienced unconstitutional changes in government in the last three years.

Another concern affecting the region is the UN Security Council recent decision to drawdown on the MINUSMA peacekeeping forces in Mali  based on the Malian authorities’ request.

On top of this development is the escalating terrorism and the attendant humanitarian problems in the Sahel (Mali, Burkina Faso and Chad) that are slowly spreading to the northern parts of coastal West African countries, including Togo and Benin.

Various speakers, including the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr. Omar Alieu Touray, and the host Senior Foreign Minister of Guinea Bissau, H.E. Mrs. Suzi Barbosa, called for the urgent attention of ECOWAS, in addressing these conundrums of the ECOWAS region.

The final report of the MSC will be considered by the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government on Sunday July 9, in Bissau, Guinea Bissau. His Excellency Dr. George Manneh Weah, the President of Liberia, is expected to join his colleague Heads of State to deliberate on these vexing issues affecting ECOWAS and take decisions in addressing them.

The final report adopted at the end of the MSC meeting in Bissau recommended, among others, the setting up of a regional force to combat terrorism and Unconstitutional Changes in Government, and the need for Member States to shore up the budget for these activities.

In particular, a special report on the implications of MINUSMA’s withdrawal from Mali for the region was adopted, paving the way for ECOWAS directly to engage and take control of the situation, by engaging the UN Security Council and the Russian Government, which has been overtly supporting the activities of the WAGNER private military forces in Mali, a situation that does not augur well for the ECOWAS Member States.

Reiterating support for these points and providing briefing on Liberia’s joint border security operations with Guinea and Cote d’Ivoire were Liberia’s Permanent Representative to ECOWAS, Dr. Al-Hassan Conteh, and Deputy Minister of Defence Hon. Sam Collins, who represented Foreign Minister Dee Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Sr. and Defence Minister Daniel Ziankhan respectively.

Dr. Conteh also called for ECOWAS support for Liberia’s decision to serve as a Non-Permanent Member of the UN Security Council in 2026-2027, which has already received further endorsement by the Executive Council of the African Union.

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