The ECOWAS committee called for immediate sensitisation and education of the people and the military on the objectives of the mission.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) appears set deploy a peacekeeping mission to Mali to help find solutions to the political crisis in the country.
The ECOWAS Committee of Chiefs of Defence Staff (CCDS) rose from a two-day emergency meeting in Abidjan, the Ivorian capital, at the weekend with a resolution to revisit some of the proposals from its previous extra-ordinary meetings last month in Bamako and Abidjan, on ways to resolve the intractable crisis.
The meeting was convened to review a request by the Malian government, to ECOWAS, soliciting its assistance to recover the North of Mali, occupied by rebel forces, as well as combat regional terrorism.
At the end of the meeting, the CCDS reaffirmed its commitment to go ahead with the resolution to consult the governments of neighbouring Algeria and Mauritania to solicit their support to help facilitate the deployment of the ECOWAS Mission in Mali.
As a prelude to the deployment of the mission, the CCDS called on ECOWAS and the Malian government to immediately embark on a massive media campaign to help sensitise the people as well as create and sustain the awareness of the citizens, including the Armed Forces, on the planned deployment of the mission.
The defence chiefs called on the Malian authorities to intensify efforts at an inter-Malian dialogue with the rebels under a national mechanism of strategic management to ensure the resolution of the crisis.
The Malian authorities were also urged to comply with UN Resolution 2056 on the total withdrawal of the National Council for the Recovery and Restoration of the State (CNDRE) from the political arena. Resolution 2056 also calls for the dissolution of the CNDRE and demands that its members refrain from any interference in political matters and in the work of the Transitional authorities.
The ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Salamatu Suleiman, at the opening of the meeting underlined its sensitivity and importance, particularly to the security and peace of the region.
Mrs. Suleiman, along with the Minister of Defence of Mali, Paul Koffi, and the Chief of Defence Staff of Cote d’ Ivoire, Soumaila Bakayoko, stressed the need for the committee to strive to meet the expectations of the Authority of Heads of State and Government by successfully addressing the threats and challenges to peace and security in the region, restoring the territorial integrity of Mali, and helping to ensure a peaceful transition and return to the normal constitutional rule in the country.
Meanwhile, an extra-ordinary meeting of the ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council has been scheduled for Monday in Abidjan to review the political and security situations in Mali and Guinea Bissau.
Members of the council comprises Ministers in charge of Foreign Affairs and Defence in Member States.
The meeting, which is expected to consider memoranda presented by the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Desiré Kadré Ouédraogo, on the political crises in the two countries, would afford the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Burkina Faso and Nigeria’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs to brief the meeting on the mediation efforts in Mali and Guinea Bissau.
Chief of Defence Staff of Cote d’Ivoire, who is also the Chairman of the Committee of the ECOWAS Chiefs of Defence Staff, would also brief the Council on the outcome of the two-day Committee meeting which ended on Saturday.