Gabon Foreign Affairs Minister Advocates Pooling Efforts For Better Terrorism Response In ECOWAS, ECCAS Regions

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LOME – (ECOWAS Secretariat Report) – The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) must fashion out a global and pragmatic approach in the fight against terrorism. This by paying special attention to human security, the problems linked to all kinds of trafficking, management and exploitation of natural resources and transhumance.

This was the appeal from Régis Immongault Tatangani, Gabon’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation, Francophonie and Regional Integration, who is also the Chair of the ECCAS Council of Ministers at the opening ceremony of the Ministerial Meeting preceding the Summit of the Heads of State and Government of both regional economic communities which held in Lome, Togo lately.

He indicated that beyond this approach, West and Central Africa must work out a common surveillance policy to enhance the exchange of strategic intelligence, particularly in the area of early warning. According to him, the Joint Summit of ECOWAS and ECCAS Heads of State scheduled for 30 July 2018 was expected to raise the hope for the relevance of the agenda on peace, security, stability, the fight against terrorism and violent extremism.

“This Summit is taking place as a result of the unrelenting activities of negative forces operating in our countries, laying waste and causing terror to our people. Unfortunately, these barbaric acts, in addition to their characteristic lack of humanity are spreading like wild fire beyond our respective borders and regions,” he observed.

On his part, Robert Dussey (Prof), the Togolese Minister of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and African Integration, who is the Chair of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers declared that the conduct of the joint summit was an example of successful inter-African cooperation. In his view, ECCAS and ECOWAS have understood that members must collectively take on the responsibility for the security of their common area. He revealed that the Summit of Heads of State and Government set for the 30th of July 2018 was to be concluded with a Joint Declaration and testifies to this need.

He stated that the War Against Terrorism, Security and Regional and Inter-regional Stability is a just war, pointed out that there can be no progress or human development without peace and security.

“Our two regions must win the war on ignorance, radicalisation, fundamentalism and extremism. We must strip terrorism of its breeding grounds through prevention which involves education for enlightenment. It is through enlightening education that West and Central Africa can overcome indoctrination, radicalism as well as extremism which fuel terrorism,” he reiterated.

“This joint ministerial session attended by Ministers of Foreign Affairs and of Defence or National Security is expected to consider and adopt the draft Joint Lomé Declaration by ECOWAS and ECCAS Member States on peace, security stability and the fight against terrorism and violent extremism. The meeting also attended by the ECOWAS Commission President – Jean-Claude Kassi Brou and ECCAS Secretary-General – Ahmad Allam-Mi will adopt the draft agenda and the Communiqué of the Joint Summit of the leaders of West and Central Africa.”

It will also examine the report of the meeting of experts from both regions on the subject matter, held on 10 and II July 2018, again in the Togolese capital. The meeting had concluded with a series of recommendations of which effective implementation should enhance the fight against terrorism and violent extremism in West and Central Africa.

While explaining that illegal cross-border activities, especially terrorism, money laundering, violent extremism as well as trafficking in arms, humans and drugs constitute common threats to West and Central Africa, he noted that these threats hinder peace, security as well as stability and jeopardise the development efforts of ECOWAS and ECCAS Member States.

Robert Dussey honted that the joint sessions of ministers and experts like the Summit of Heads of State and Government of both economic regions are the result of efforts jointly embarked upon since 2015 by the two regions. He later opined that the efforts are expected to define and implement a joint approach to peace, security and the fight against terrorism and violent extremism in West and Central Africa.