30 July 2012, Sweetcrude/African Press Organization (APO), ABUJA, Nigeria — The Committee of Chiefs of Defence Staff (CCDS) of ECOWAS Member States has endorsed the report and outcome of the Technical Assessment Mission (TAM) to Mali and called for international support for the planned deployment of an ECOWAS Mission in Mali (MICEMA) to help restore the country’s national integrity and return constitutional order.
The Committee also fixed 9th August 2012 for a final planning conference in Mali in preparation for the deployment of the 3,000-strong MICEMA.
These were the key decisions of the CCDS’ two-day emergency meeting in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, which ended on 26th July 2012, after considering the report and outcome of the TAM that visited Mali from 6th to 18th July 2012, assisted by the African Union and the United Nations.
The meeting was in compliance with the decision of the 41st Ordinary Session of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government, held in Yamoussoukro, Cote d’Ivoire in June 2012, which authorized the Technical Mission to evaluate the political, security, humanitarian and human rights situations in Mali, assess the needs of the Malian Army with a view to assisting the country to secure its territorial integrity and restore constitutional order.
The opening ceremony of the emergency meeting held at the Defence Headquarters was presided over by Cote d’Ivoire’s Minister of Defence in the Office of the Presidency, Mr. Paul Koffi Koffi, represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mr. Alexis Ahonzo.
The ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Mrs. Salamatu Suleiman, had called on the Chiefs of Defence Staff to redouble their efforts to ensure enduring peace and security in the region.
She urged them to work out details with timelines of the planned deployment of troops in Mali, which the international community will buy into, and which will meet the approval of the United Nations Security Council.
The Chairman of the CCDS, General Soumaila Bakayoko of Cote d’Ivoire, expressed satisfaction with the quality of work and the professionalism of the Technical Assessment Team, and assured that modalities of the planned deployment would meet the approval of the UN Security Council.
In their deliberations, the Chiefs of Defence Staff noted that the gravity of the political, security and humanitarian situations in Mali constitute a serious threat to peace, not only in Mali but also in the entire region.
The Committee noted that in order to carry the international community along, the deployment of MICENA is contingent on a formal request by the Malian Government and subsequent approval by the United Nations Security Council.
The meeting was attended by Chiefs of Defence Staff, some Chiefs of Police and Gendarmeries of Member States, Commissioner Suleiman and the Special Representative of the President of the ECOWAS Commission to Mali, Mr. Aboudou Cheaka Toure.