The Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) held an Extraordinary Session on Terrorism in the Region today, 14th September 2019 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
The Extraordinary Session aimed to consider the different initiatives taken to prevent and combat terrorism and redefine priority areas is in line with a decision taken at the 55th Ordinary Session of the Authority held in Abuja, Nigeria on the 29th June 2019.
In his welcome address, H.E. Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, President of Burkina Faso, highlighted that in view of the current growing threat of terrorism in the region, cooperation and solidarity between States have become imperative.
“That is why our States must pool their human, material and intelligence resources, equip and train our Defence and Security Forces to strengthen their operational capacities in the fight against this scourge in West Africa”, he said.
H.E. Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, while highlighting the significant effect of terrorism on economic activities in the region and the fear it has created among community citizens, emphasised that the Extraordinary Summit is an opportunity to reaffirm the commitment of ECOWAS to collectively eliminate terrorism from the Region and re-evaluate the Regional Counter-Terrorism Strategy.
In his opening address, H.E. Issoufou Mahamadou, President of Republic of Niger and Chair of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, stressed that the Extraordinary Session on terrorism was convened because it has become a threat to peace, security and stability of the region, threat to democratic institutions and economic development.
“The threat of terrorist and criminal organizations has taken on a strategic dimension because it aims more or less at challenging the existence of our States and territories in their current forms”, he said.
That is why according to President Issoufou, the Region must set as political objectives the safeguarding of the territorial sovereignty and integrity of Member States, the safeguarding of regional democratic institutions and the security of all the citizens, as well as the protection of their properties.
As part of the opening ceremony, the representatives of the following partner states and organisations delivered goodwill messages: Chairperson of the African Union (AU), Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), Algeria, Federal Republic of Germany, Kingdom of Morocco, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, France and the European Union.
Highlight of the Extraordinary Summit was the adoption of a Declaration on terrorism in the ECOWAS region by the Authority of Heads of State and Government.