The 35th Ordinary meeting of the ECOWAS Committee of Chiefs of Defense Staff (CCDS) opened on 9th September, 2015 in Dakar, Senegal. In his welcome
address, Lt. Gen. Mamadou Sow, the Chief of Defense Staff of Senegal who is the new Chairman of the CCDS thanked his colleagues and participants for giving Senegal the honour to host them.
He commended the outgoing Chairman of the CCDS, Vice Admiral Mathew Quashie for his remarkable leadership of the Committee. Citing the role the Defense forces played in fighting Ebola, Lt. Gen. Sow said under Vice Admiral Quashie’s leadership the security situation in the sub-region was reviewed which led to the development of a security road-map that yielded fruitful results.
He added that this meeting will avail them the opportunity to provide solutions for most of the pressing challenges.
In his remarks, Vice Admiral Mathew Quashie, the Chief of Defense Staff of Ghana, who is the outgoing Chairman of the CCDS thanked the Chiefs of Defense Staff for their support during his leadership of the Committee.
He said they successful handled logistics delivery and supplies during the Ebola crises, which he said was made possible with support from the Heads of State and Government.
He commended the Courageous effort put by Nigeria and the Multi-National Joint Forces in fighting Boko Haram.
He also encouraged the incoming Chairman of the CCDS to make the Committee a security vanguard for the region.
Mrs. Salamatu Hussaini Suleiman, Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security of the ECOWAS Commission on behalf of H. E. Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo, President of the ECOWAS Commission thanked the President and Government of Senegal for hosting the meeting and the Chiefs of Defense Staff for attending.
Mrs. Suleiman informed the meeting that the ECOWAS Standby Force (ESF) will be fully operational by December 2015.
She also highlighted the different efforts initiated by the ECOWAS Commission in that regard, such as improving the ESF logistics and equipment capabilities; as progress were recorded in the building of the logistics depot in Lungi, among others.
She also commended the contributions made so far by Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS in addressing Peace and Security challenges in the Region and called on their continuous support in achieving a peaceful and cohesive region.
The Minister of Defense of Senegal, Mr. Augustin Tine in his opening address said the collective peace and security in the region remains our top priority and is necessary for the economic development of the region. He congratulated the Chief of Defense Staff of Senegal, Gen. Sow as he assumes the mantle of leadership as the Chairman of the CCDS.
The outgoing Chairman of the CCDS Vice Admiral Mathew Quashie in a brief ceremony at the meeting handed over the Chairmanship hammer to the incoming Chairman, Lt. Gen. Mamadou Sow of Senegal.
The three (3) day meeting which went into a closed door session after the opening ceremony will review the nature and organization of the structures dealing with Peacekeeping issues in the region. The meeting will also be updated on the Defense and Security Sector Reform Programme (DSSRP) in Guinea Bissau, the operations of ECOWAS Mission in Guinea Bissau (ECOMIB) as well as the status of the Multinational Maritime Coordination Centre (MMCC) of Pilot Zone E, among others.
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