President Dr Julius Maada Bio has told a meeting of leaders of the Economic Community of West African States that Sierra Leone is concerned about the security situation in the region but assured that his government will continue to support preventive diplomacy mechanisms.
“Our region faces a myriad of security threats underpinned by political crises, religious and communal tension, growing insurgency, banditry, cybercrimes, and transnational and other organised crimes. All hands must, therefore, be on deck to closely attend to the security situation in our community. We should do more, not less, to tackle persistent insecurity in our community,” he said.
He thanked the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Republic of Ghana for their contributions to the Terrorism Fund and committed to making their own contribution in short order.
“Sierra Leone will also continue to support preventive diplomacy mechanisms discussed during the 46th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Mediation Council at the Ministerial level in Accra on the 18th June 2021. Sierra Leone also notes the strengthening of Women, Peace and Security, which will give women more vital voices in peace and security,” he said.
He recalled that from Sierra Leone’s experience during the eleven-year civil war and the making of peace, the women, as non-state actors, played very important roles in preventive diplomacy and in securing lasting peace.
He also commended former President Dr. GoodluckEbele Jonathan of Nigeria, for his continued mediation efforts on behalf of ECOWAS on the socio-political crisis in Mali, adding that they were encouraged by assurances of strict compliance with the decisions of the ECOWAS Extraordinary Summit held in Accra on 30 May 2021.
“A peaceful resolution and a smooth transition to democratic constitutional governance within the agreed timeframe are imperative given the humanitarian and security situation in our sister Republic and our community as a whole. Sierra Leone takes note of the Mediator’s report on the Socio-Political Crisis in Mali and applauds the government for appointing ChoguelMaiga as Prime Minister, and we strongly urge them to maintain the roadmap of the Transition Charter. We also encourage Colonel AssimiGoïta, President of the Transitional Government, to adhere strictly to the decisions of ECOWAS,” he urged.
In his welcome statement, Ghana’s President Nana AddoDankwaAkufo-Addo and Chairman of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS said he hoped that they could agree on the matters before them so that they would have the time to delve into and take decisions on issues like terrorism, violent extremism, democracy, peace and security, health and the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, and the rapid economic recovery of our Region from the effects of the pandemic.
“Excellencies, the Agenda for this meeting has been well defined. At our Extraordinary Summit, in February 2021, you entrusted me with the task of leading the reflection on the institutional reform of our Organisation. The purpose of the reform is to improve the performance and operational efficiency of ECOWAS Institutions, in order to ensure the implementation of integration programmes for the economic and social development of the Region,” he said.
President of the African Development Bank, ADB, Dr AkinwumiAdesina, spoke about the significance of stability of the African economy and strengthening the security and health sectors in the sub-Region. He called on the heads of state to work toward the production of the Covid-19 vaccine in their efforts to tackle the spread of the pandemic.