The President of the ECOWAS Commission Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo was received at
the Executive Mansion, Monrovia on Tuesday 18th December 2012 by Liberia’s
President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, for talks on wide ranging issues including
security at the Liberia-Cote d’Ivoire border, as well as political and
economic developments in the region.
Addressing journalists after a working lunch, both leaders accompanied by
their powerful teams, including government ministers and senior ECOWAS
Commission officials, were unanimous that concerted measures were required to
consolidate the peaceful atmosphere along the Liberia-Cote d’Ivoire borders
after the unfortunate incident that resulted in the deaths of some Niger UN
peace keepers on the frontier last June.
The ECOWAS chief, who is on a humanitarian mission to Liberia, his first
official visit to the country since he assumed office in March, said the talks
also covered areas of ECOWAS support, engagement and encouragement to Liberia
in deepening democratic governance, security sector reforms as well as
economic and infrastructure development.
Other priority areas are the energy sector with progress in the West African
Power Pool (WAPP) project that will ensure interconnectivity among ECOWAS
countries, and the Liberia leg of the Trans-West African Highway.
President Ouédraogo said there was the urgent need for effective
implementation of the region’s flagship Protocol on Free Movement of Persons,
Goods and the Rights of Residence and Establishment. He noted that regional
integration and economic development would be a pipe dream without free
movement of persons, goods and services across the borders of Member States.
The ECOWAS chief commended President Jonson-Sirleaf for providing exemplary
leadership in the region and for her contribution to conflict resolution,
particularly on Mali and Guinea-Bissau.
He noted that Liberia was on the path to economic prosperity after a
devastating civil war and pledged the Commission’s continued support to the
President Ouédraogo, who had earlier in the day, presented 300 metric tons of
rice to the Liberian government for distribution to Ivorian refugees in the
country, thanked the Liberian government and people for their generosity
towards the Ivorians.
He later visited the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General and
Coordinator of UN operations in Liberia, Mrs. Karin Landgren for talks on
ECOWAS-UN partnership and cooperation.
The meeting also featured political, peace and security issues in the region
and the need to strengthen and consolidate collaboration between ECOWAS and
the UN system.
President Ouédraogo expressed the Commission’s gratitude to the UN through its
Office in West Africa, adding that ECOWAS and the international community were
intensifying efforts to end the crises in Mali and Guinea-Bissau and ensure
that West Africa becomes a zone of peace.
To round off the mission, Liberia’s Finance Minister Honourable Amara Konneh
hosted the ECOWAS chief to a reception, which was attended by cabinet
ministers and members of the diplomatic corps, among others.