Year 2011 Selected
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N°: 005/2011
20 January 2011 [Bamako - Mali]


The Chairman of the ECOWAS Committee of Chiefs of Defence Staff (CCDS), Air Chief Marshall Oluseyi Petinrin,has called on his colleague Chiefs of Defence Staff from Member States to “play a positive lead role in the region to forestall a situation where globalization and its tenets, if misapplied, could easily subvert the security and peace of our region” Air Chief Marshall Petinrin, who is Nigeria’s Chief of Defence Staff, was addressing the close of the two-day CCDS meeting late on 19th January 2011 in Bamako, the Malian capital. The first in a series of four ordinary sessions planned for the year, the meeting reviewed the security situation in West Africa including the deteriorating political situation in Cote d’Ivoire and the impending refugee crisis, Al-Qaeda activities in the Islamic Maghreb as well as maritime security issues in the Gulf of Guinea with its attendant drug trafficking, piracy and other security concerns within the region. The Air Chief Marshall noted that the importance of finding sustainable solutions to all these security challenges is “underpinned by the current dynamic global order where technology plays a key role in making rapid changes within space and time”. While alerting participants to the dangers in globalization that could easily subvert the peace of the region, the Defence Chief reiterated the view that “ECOWAS problems are better solved with ECOWAS solutions”. Air Chief Marshall Petinrin had earlier at the opening of the meeting, warned that with the impact of globalization, “our individual initiatives may not effectively address the complex array of security challenges which continue to frustrate the prospect for socio-economic and political development in the region”. He stated that “the reality of the existing and emerging security situation underscores the need for greater cooperation and interdependence among Member States”. On the security situation in Cote d’Ivoire which he described as a matter of great concern to ECOWAS Heads of State, the Air Chief Marshall said the Committee of Chiefs of Defence Staff “has the responsibility to ensure that normalcy is restored and sustained in Cote d’Ivoire as soon as practicable”. “We cannot afford to relent in our effort to help the ECOWAS political leadership in finding a workable and enduring solution to this seemingly intractable political logjam”, he stated. The Defence Chiefs’ deliberations on the Ivorian crisis was in further response to a directive in two extra-ordinary summits in December 2010 by regional leaders mandating the President of the ECOWAS Commission to immediately call a meeting of the Chiefs of Defence Staff. According to the Heads of State, “ECOWAS would have no other option but to take all necessary measures, including use of legitimate force to realize the desires of the Ivorian people”. The Defence Chiefs thus met in an extra-ordinary session in Abuja on 28th and 29th December 2010 where they agreed to put in place a team “aimed at planning the future actions including securing the border between Cote d’Ivoire and Liberia in case of objection to the ECOWAS message”. In a special closed door session, the Defence Chiefs were briefed by the planning team on the state of progress of the activities undertaken so far. The Force Commander of the UN Mission in Cote d’Ivoire (UNOCI), Major General Abdul Hafiz and the Deputy Force Commander of the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), General Kwasie John Aduley, also briefed the Chiefs of Defence Staff on the security situation in the two countries. Earlier, the Minister of Defence and Ex-Combatants of Mali, Mr. Natie Pléa, the Chief of Defence Staff of Mali, Major General Gabriel Poudiougou and the ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Brigadier General Mahamane Touré, addressed the meeting.

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