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The United Nations pledges continued support to the newly elected ECOWAS leadership

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ABUJA, Nigeria, February 17, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for West Africa, Mr. Said Djinnit, attended the 40th Ordinary Session of the Authority of the Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), held in Abuja, Nigeria, on 16 and 17 February 2012.

In his address, SRSG Djinnit congratulated President Alassane Dramane Ouattara, from Côte d'Ivoire, on his election as the new President of the ECOWAS Authority, as well as Mr. Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo, from Burkina Faso, who was designated as the new President of the Commission.

On behalf of the United Nations Secretary-General, SRSG Djinnit pledged the continued support of the United Nations to the newly elected leadership of ECOWAS and paid tribute to the dedication and achievements of the outgoing team.

He also reiterated the commitment of the United Nations to support the efforts of ECOWAS in addressing emerging threats to the stability of the sub-region, including the piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, the food crisis and insecurity in the Sahel Region resulting in new flow of refugees and fuelled by an increased numbers of smuggled arms in the fallout of the crisis in Libya, as well as drug trafficking and organized crime.

In light of these challenging issues, SRSG Djinnit expressed the hope that the cooperation and partnership between the United Nations and ECOWAS will intensify in the months and years ahead. “The incoming leadership should be assured of the continued support of the United Nations to the Community, its Member States and the people of West Africa in their constant search for peace, democracy and development,” he concluded.