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Security Council welcomes establishment of new UN office for West Africa

Security Council welcomes establishment of new UN office for West Africa

The United Nations Security Council has welcomed the establishment of a new Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa, saying the envoy would help to better harmonize UN efforts in the region.

In a presidential statement read out during an open meeting on Wednesday evening, the Council said the Dakar-based Office would also ensure the development of a fruitful partnership with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), other subregional organizations and international as well as national players, including civil society.

“The Security Council emphasizes that greater subregional integration must remain a key goal for the United Nations system in the search for lasting solutions to the conflicts in West Africa and to the human suffering to which these give rise,” said the statement by the Council President, Ambassador Moctar Ouane of Mali. He stressed the need to further strengthen the capacities of ECOWAS towards this end, especially its ability to stem the illicit flow of small arms and the establishment of militia. In that connection, the Council welcomed the three-year extension of the Moratorium on the Importation, Exportation and Manufacture of Small Arms and Light Weapons in West Africa and appealed for international financial support for the effort.

The Council also underscored the importance of taking steps to develop cooperation and coordination among the intergovernmental bodies and entities of the UN, which could influence the situation in West Africa.

Concerning the Mano River Union countries – Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone – the Council emphasized the “need to see to the effective implementation” of confidence building measures among them. The three were also strongly encouraged to “do their utmost” to hold a summit meeting of their heads of State.

With specific reference to Sierra Leone, the Council welcomed progress in the country’s peace process and appealed to the international community for “substantial financial assistance for the programme for the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants and other peace-consolidating activities” in the country.