Saliu ABUJA (Xinhua) -- West African leaders on
Saturday discussed regional issues of common interest and
concern including security, trade liberalization, and how to
foster peaceful co-existence in the sub-region.
Muhammadu Buhari, chairman of the
Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), praised the
African leaders for their efforts to promote sustainable peace,
development and stability in the sub-region at the bloc’s 54th
Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and
Government held in the Nigerian capital Abuja.
In his welcome address, Buhari, who is
also the Nigerian president, paid tribute to some leaders who
had participated in the resolution of the recent political
crisis in Togo and institutional crisis in Guinea-Bissau.
“Within the framework of our regional
solidarity, we have assisted the governments of Togo and Mali in
tackling political and security problems while also addressing
food challenges in parts of the sub-region,” Buhari said.
The Nigerian leader commended the
ECOWAS Authority for its electoral assistance to several
countries, saying it had neutralized some potential conflicts
through preventive diplomacy.
Buhari, who was elected ECOWAS
chairman in July, noted that in spite of the successes, the
regional organization was still confronted with difficulties
regarding the economy, governance, peace, security and
He said that the lofty ideals of
ECOWAS, including the promotion of cooperation and integration,
the establishment of an economic and monetary union in West
Africa, as well as the creation of a borderless, peaceful,
prosperous and cohesive region, would be unattainable without
peace and security.
This is why he decided to make the
issue of peace and security the major focus of his chairmanship,
He also said that terrorism and
violent extremism had continued to threaten peace and security
in the sub-region, which was a cause for concern.
Mohamed Ibn Chambas, special
representative of the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General and
head of the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel, called for
more efforts to prevent and mitigate election-related violence
and human rights abuses, as well as promote respect for the rule
“Upcoming elections in the sub-region
will present opportunities for further consolidating democracy,”
At least 10 presidents of the 15
countries which are currently member states of ECOWAS attended
the Abuja summit.