Annan pledges UN's continued support for West African security, development
In a message to the Heads of State and Government gathered in Dakar for the 25th summit meeting of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Mr. Annan said that as further proof of his commitment to work with ECOWAS and other regional organizations he had decided to open a UN Office for West Africa to support the region's quest for sustainable peace and development. Yesterday, the Security Council welcomed the initiative as an important step to harmonize UN efforts in the subregion.
"The United Nations will continue to be a close partner of ECOWAS in sustaining this momentum," the Secretary-General said, noting that future challenges included the stabilization of the situation in Sierra Leone and the restoration of security and confidence in the Mano River Basin countries.
"The United Nations is also committed to working with ECOWAS leaders to implement the New Partnership for the Development of Africa, and to mobilize international support for this vital endeavour," he added.
Mr. Annan's message was delivered on his behalf by UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Ibrahima Fall.
In a recent example of UN-West African cooperation, two key documents adopted earlier this week in Dakar by ECOWAS foreign ministers on the fight against trafficking in human beings had been prepared jointly with the UN Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention.