FORTY SECOND ORDINARY SESSION OF THE ECOWAS AUTHORITY OF HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT
ABUJA, Nigeria, March 1, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- FINAL COMMUNIQUE
1. The Forty-Second Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) took place in Yamoussoukro, Côte d'Ivoire, on 27 and 28 February 2012 under the chairmanship of H.E. Alassane Ouattara, President of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire and Chairman of the Authority.
2. The following Heads of State and Government or their duly mandated representatives were present at the meeting:
- H. E. Blaise COMPAORE, President of Burkina Faso
- H. E. Alassane OUATTARA, President of the Republic of Cote d'Ivoire
- H. E. Sheikh Prof. Alhaji Dr.Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh, President of The Gambia
- H. E. John Dramani MAHAMA, President of the Republic of Ghana
- H. E. Alpha CONDE, President of the Republic of Guinea
- H. E. Manuel Serifo NHAMAJO, Interim President of the Republic of Guinea Bissau
- H. E. Ellen JOHNSON-SIRLEAF, President of the Republic of Liberia
- H. E. Dioncounda TRAORE, Interim President of the Republic of Mali
- H. E. Mahamadou ISSOUFOU, President of the Republic of Niger
- H. E. Goodluck Ebele JONATHAN, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
- H. E. Macky SALL, President of the Republic of Senegal
- H. E. Ernest Bai KOROM A, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone
- H. E. Faure Essozimna GNASSINGBE, President of the Togolese Republic
- H.E. Nassirou BAKO-ARIFARI, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Benin.
H.E. Francisco PEREIRA DA VEIGA, Ambassador of the Republic of Cape Verde to Senegal
3. The following Heads of State and Government also participated at the Summit as special guests:
- H. E. Idriss Deby ITNO, President of the Republic of Chad
- H.E. Pierre NKURUNZIZA, President of the Republic of Burundi
- H. E. Mohamed Ould Abdel AZIZ President of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania
- H. E. Abdel-Ilah BENKIRAN, Prime Minister of Morocco
4. The President of the UEMOA Commission, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for West Africa, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Guinea Bissau, the Commissioner for Peace and Security of the AU Commission, the Secretary-General of the CPLP, and the AU High Representative to Mali and the Sahel and Head of AFISMA, the Force Commanders of AFISMA and ECOMIB, as well as the President of the African Development Bank also participated in the Summit as observers.
5. The representatives of the following invited countries and Organizations also observed proceedings at the Summit: Algeria, Canada, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, France, Italy, Libya, Spain, UK, USA, and the EU.
6. The Heads of State and Government observed a minute's silence in memory of the heroes of the allied forces in Mali who lost their lives in the line of duty, while implementing UN Security Council Resolution 2085 (2012) on Mali, and also for General Kelefa Diallo, Chief of Defence Staff of Guinea, and ten others who died in a helicopter crash on 11 February 2013.
7. The Heads of State and Government took note of the 2012 Annual Report of the President of the ECOWAS Commission and the Report of the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of its 69th Ordinary Session. They also took note of the Memoranda of the President of the ECOWAS Commission on the situations in Mali and Guinea Bissau and the Report of the Extra-Ordinary Session of the Mediation and Security Council of 25 February 2013 by the Chairman of the Council. They also noted the briefings by H.E. Blaise Compaoré, President of Burkina Faso and Mediator in Mali, and H.E. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Associate Mediator in Mali and Chairman of the Regional Contact Group on Guinea Bissau.
8. The Heads of State and Government reiterated their firm commitment to the development of the Region through the acceleration of the integration process, including the implementation of sectoral programmes and the consolidation of the common market within the framework of respect for fundamental principles as contained in the founding Act, Protocols and other relevant texts of ECOWAS, including those relating to the promotion and consolidation of democracy and good governance.
9. Authority commended the quality of the reports and the pertinence of the recommendations contained therein. To this end, the Heads of State and Government endorsed the main recommendations in the relevant reports and briefings, and made the following conclusions and specific Decisions:
I. The Regional Economic Performance and Consolidation of the Common Market
10. Authority judges as encouraging the economic performance recorded by the Region in 2012. In order to consolidate the performance and sustain growth capable of reducing poverty, the Heads of State and Government undertake targeted measures towards sanitizing the macroeconomic framework, deepening structural reforms, diversifying the productive base of the economy, and improving social services.
11. In that regard, Authority directs the President of the Commission to take additional measures to reinforce the achievements of the different integration projects, particularly those aimed at consolidating the common market, enhancing convergence programmes, promoting the private sector and boosting the resilience of the region through the implementation of appropriate sectoral policies.
12. The Heads of State and Government welcome the progress made in the finalization of the CET and direct the President of the ECOWAS Commission to continue, in collaboration with the UEMOA Commission, the coordination work needed for the creation of the Customs Union. Authority stresses in this regard, the need for the effective implementation of the ECOWAS Protocol on Free Movement of Persons and Goods and therefore, calls for greater appropriation of the Protocol by Member States.
13. The Heads of State and Government reaffirm their commitment to the conclusion of a fair and development-oriented regional Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union. They welcome the efforts undertaken by the West African Region in fine-tuning the market access offer and direct the President of the Commission to finalize, as soon as possible, proposals to that effect in line with the on-going work on the CET and the development objectives of the Region.
14. Authority welcomes the 14 December 2012 Sipopo Declaration of ACP Heads of State and Government on EPA. It calls on the Chief Negotiators of the two parties to intensify consultations with greater flexibility, in order to conclude negotiations on the pending issues. The Heads of State and Government, therefore, call for a meeting of the Chief Negotiators as soon as possible with a view to reaching agreement on the different areas of divergence.
II. Sectoral Policies
15. The Heads of State and Government welcome the on-going efforts to formulate and implement infrastructure, in particular energy and rail programmes. In this regard, Authority endorses the Priority Action Plan for West Africa and the Infrastructural Development Programme for Africa, and directs the Commission to expedite their implementation.
16. Authority directs the President of the ECOWAS Commission to take all the necessary measures to support Member States in the implementation of emergency energy programmes. In particular, Authority instructs the President of the Commission to pursue the efforts aimed at extending and improving the efficiency of interconnectivity projects in all the countries of the Region, including the West African Gas Pipeline. It also instructs the President to facilitate the coordination of priority projects preparation in Member States. In that regard, Authority requests the President of the Commission to convene a meeting of Ministers responsible for Energy to consider the requests from Member States and make the appropriate recommendations.
17. Authority reaffirms its commitment to combat food insecurity in West Africa. While stressing the importance of the ECOWAS Common Agricultural Policy, the Heads of State and Government request the Commission to expedite action on the implementation of the 'Rice Offensive', the regional programmes to develop small-scale livestock farming, and the hydraulic programmes. In particular, Summit directs the President of the Commission, in particular, to take all necessary measures to ensure the effective takeoff of the regional food reserve, and to address the environmental challenges more effectively by pursuing efforts to find appropriate solutions to pollution.
18. Summit reaffirms its determination to make malaria eradication a major component of Members states' agenda to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. In this regard, Authority emphasizes the importance of a multi-sectoral strategy focused particularly on the vector control component and sensitization. Summit calls on Member States to promote this component in their national programmes and directs the Commission to facilitate efforts in this regard. In this context, the Chairman of Authority laid the foundation stone for the construction of the first bio-larvicide factory in Côte d'Ivoire, out of the three envisaged for West Africa, at a ceremony in the margins of the Summit.
III. Democracy and Good Governance
19. The Heads of State and Government welcome the increasing acceptance of the Community's constitutional convergence principles and the gradual deepening of democratic culture in the Region.
20. Authority commends the Governments and people of Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Ghana for conducting peaceful Presidential and Legislative elections in the course of 2012, which were adjudged by ECOWAS, as well as local and international observers as free, fair, and transparent. It also commends Burkina Faso for conducting successful legislative and municipal elections in December 2012.
21. Authority warmly congratulates H.E. Ernest Bai Koroma on his re-election as President of Sierra Leone, and H.E. John Dramani Mahama, on his elevation to the highest office in Ghana.
22. Authority expresses expectation that the legislative elections in Guinea and Togo, as well as the general elections in Mali and Guinea Bissau anticipated in 2013, will similarly be peaceful, consensual, inclusive, and credible.
23. Authority however expresses concern about the incidents of political violence, non-acceptance of election results, and military interference that mar the advances made in the democracy agenda, and instructs the ECOWAS Commission to deepen its electoral assistance to Member States.
IV. The Security and Political Situation in Mali
24. Authority strongly condemns the on-going suicide bombings and guerilla attacks by terrorist and extremist groups in the north of Mali and urges the allied forces to take all necessary steps within the framework of the counter-insurgency operation to neutralize them and ensure the prosecution of collaborators.
25. Authority expresses its profound gratitude to Government of France for its decisive action. Authority also expresses its deepest gratitude to the Government and People of Chad for their exemplary demonstration of concrete solidarity with the people of Mali and their commitment to the ideals of the African Union. Authority pays special tribute to the gallant heroes of this great nation who paid the ultimate price helping Mali to assert its territorial integrity.
26. Authority endorses the revised Concept of Operations (CONOPS) for AFISMA and urges both the political leadership and Commanders of the allied forces to ensure improved coordination among themselves for a harmonious and effective operation.
27. Authority endorses the recommendations of the Meeting of the Chiefs of Defence Staff regarding the urgent and other identified needs of AFISMA. In this regard, Authority directs the ECOWAS Commission, in close collaboration with the AU Commission, to ensure that these needs are met without further delay, in particular the deployment of troops and the provision of additional logistics.
28. The Heads of State and Government welcome the disposition of Burundi to deploy troops in Mali within the framework of AFISMA, and call on the AFISMA Force Commander to ensure follow-iup with a view to integrating the Burundi troops into the on-going operations.
29. Authority welcomes the constructive cooperation of Algeria, Mauritania and Morocco in the efforts to resolve the crisis in Mali.
30. Authority exhorts the allied forces to scrupulously uphold human rights and international humanitarian laws in their operations. To that end, it welcomes the on-going initiatives by ECOWAS, the AU and other partners to quickly deploy human rights observers to the conflict zone and inculcate human rights values in service personnel through induction courses.
31. Summit reiterates its call on international humanitarian actors to continue to provide assistance to the affected populations. It directs the ECOWAS Commission, in collaboration with humanitarian partners, to monitor and coordinate the relief efforts to ensure effectiveness.
32. Authority directs the ECOWAS Commission, in close consultations with the AU Commission, to address a request to the United Nations in support of the formal request by Mali to the UN to take steps towards the transformation of AFISMA into a UN peacekeeping operation under an appropriate mandate, as soon as conditions permit.
33. Authority reiterates its firm support to the on-going transition and to the transitional authorities led by President Dioncounda Traoré, and expresses its continued commitment to defend the transition against all spoilers, civilian or military.
34. Summit welcomes the adoption of the transitional roadmap by the National Assembly and exhorts the Malian authorities and all other stakeholders to ensure its expeditious implementation.
35. The Heads of State and Government, taking note of the decision of the Malian authorities to hold Presidential and legislative elections by 31 July 2013, decide to extend the mandate of the transitional organs till the end of the transition in line with the opinion of the Constitutional Court. They exhort the competent authorities in Mali to initiate the necessary constitutional process to that end.
36. The Heads of State and Government urge the transitional authorities to create the necessary conditions for convening a forum for comprehensive dialogue on the issues of governance among the people of the northern regions involving in particular, the representatives of the different communities, elected officials, and civil society organizations. In this context, the Heads of State also urge the transitional authorities to expedite action on the establishment of the National Commission on Reconciliation and Dialogue in order to promote, through the broadest possible representation, national reconciliation and the restoration of sustainable peace.
37. Authority recalls its commitment to the unity and territorial integrity of Mali, which requires in particular, the deployment of the national army throughout the country. To this end, Authority demands the disarmament of all armed groups, including the MNLA. It further stresses that the renunciation by the MNLA of violence and its declared secessionist intentions is the minimum condition to be fulfilled before being accepted into any dialogue.
38. Authority expresses deep appreciation to H.E. Blaise Compaoré, President of Burkina Faso and ECOWAS Mediator in the Malian crisis, and H.E. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Associate Mediator, for their unrelenting efforts in Mali. It encourages them to persevere in their role by facilitating the accomplishment of the tasks outlined in the transitional roadmap.
V. The Political and Security situation in Guinea Bissau
39. Authority reiterates its unflinching support to the transition in Guinea Bissau. Authority welcomes the signing of the Transitional Pact by all the major political parties as well as the spirit of consensus and inclusiveness that is building around the process.
40. Authority encourages President Manuel Serifo Nhamajo to propose a technically feasible Draft Revised Transitional Roadmap to the People's National Assembly for the preparation and conduct of free, fair, and transparent general elections before the end of 2013. Authority exhorts the National Assembly to adopt, as soon as possible, the said draft roadmap, and requests the Regional Contact Group on Guinea Bissau to ensure follow up.
41. Summit decides to extend the transitional period in Guinea Bissau till 31 December 2013, taking into account the on-going process in the People's National Assembly.
42. Summit welcomes the imminent commencement of the implementation of the Defence and Security Sector Reform Programme (DSSRP) in Guinea Bissau within the framework of the memorandum of understanding between the country and ECOWAS. It directs the President of the ECOWAS Commission to take all appropriate measures to facilitate and sustain its implementation.
43. Authority commends the officers, men and women of the ECOWAS Mission in Guinea Bissau (ECOMIB) for their laudable efforts in assisting to ensure the security of institutions and the population. It directs the ECOWAS Commission to ensure the effective operations of the Mission. To that end, Authority adopts the recommendations of the Committee of ECOWAS Chiefs of Defence Staff (CCDS) regarding ECOMIB.
44. Summit calls on the AU Commission to produce, as soon as practicable, an accurate consolidated report of the Joint Assessment Mission undertaken by ECOWAS, AU, CPLP, UN and the EU to Guinea Bissau in December 2012. Summit expresses the expectation that the report will constitute another tool to strengthen the efforts to build consensus among the international partners on the situation in Guinea Bissau.
45. Authority reiterates its repeated calls so the AU to recognize the on-going transition and to lift the sanctions imposed on Guinea Bissau. Authority also calls on its international partners to urgently consider the resumption of bilateral and multilateral cooperation in order to further encourage reforms in the country.
46. The Heads of State and Government express deep appreciation to H.E. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Chairman of the Regional Contact Group on Guinea Bissau (RCG-GB), and members of the Group, and to H.E. Alpha Condé, the Mediator in Guinea Bissau, for their assistance to Guinea Bissau and their commitment to ensuring a successful inclusive transition.
VI. Other Security Threats
47. Authority reaffirms its commitment to the fight against terrorism in the Region. In this regard, it endorses the ECOWAS Counter-Terrorism Strategy and Implementation Plan as well as the Political Declaration on a Common Position against Terrorism.
48. Authority declares its determination to combat piracy, illegal and irregular fishing, drug trafficking, and other forms of transnational organized crime in the Gulf of Guinea. To this end, Authority welcomes the planned ministerial meeting and Summit of ECOWAS and ECCAS scheduled to hold in 2013 to adopt a broader Regional Strategy and Plan of Action on the fight against Maritime Insecurity.
49. Authority reaffirms its political commitment to the Praia Declaration and the Regional Plan of Action against Drug Trafficking. Authority decides to extend the period of the Plan by two years, in order to sustain the fight against the scourge and to consolidate the financial support base for its effective implementation.
VII. Institutional Matters
50. To achieve enhanced effectiveness of the ECOWAS Commission, the Heads of State and Government decide to increase the number of the members of the Commission from 12 to 15. It tasks the President of the Commission to propose the new delimitation of Departments to the Council of Ministers for the consideration of Authority at its earliest meeting.
51. With regard to the criteria for allocating statutory positions, Authority decides to confer the task on the President of the ECOWAS Commission to submit proposals to the Council of Ministers for the consideration of Authority at its earliest meeting.
52. Authority invites Ghana to nominate a candidate to complete the term of the outgoing Secretary-General of the ACP Group, a position allocated to West Africa. Authority further endorses the candidature of Ghana for the post of Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Authority also endorses the candidature of Nigeria for a seat of Non-Permanent Member of the UN Security Council.
53. The Heads of State and Government reiterate their call on all Member States to respect the provisions of the Protocol on the Community Levy. In particular, Member States are encouraged to pay their arrears based on a timetable whose compliance the Commission is instructed to monitor.
54. Authority underscores the importance of concessional resources in funding the development projects of the Region. Consequently, the Authority urges Member States to promptly release the totality of the first and second tranches of the EBID called up capital. It instructs the Presidents of the Commission and the Bank to ensure the establishment of a systematic strategy for resource mobilization to shore up the financial capacities of the Bank.
55. The Heads of State and Government pay glowing tribute to H.E. Alassane Ouattara, President of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire and Chairman of Authority for the constant commitment he has demonstrated throughout the year, in guiding the affairs of the community. Authority warmly congratulates him for his positive contribution to the consolidation of the regional integration process and the management of the crises in Mali and Guinea Bissau.
56. Authority decides to renew the mandate of H.E. Alassane Ouattara, as Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government for another year.
57. The Heads of State and Government decide that their next Ordinary Summit will hold in Abuja, Federal Republic of Nigeria, on a date to be determined after consultations by the Chairman of Authority.