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West African leaders to meet in Abuja

11 November 2012, 09:02

Abuja - West African leaders will meet in Abuja on Sunday to validate the harmonised concept of operations for the African-led International Mission in Mali to help regain its northern region occupied by secessionists.

This is contained in a statement issued by Ms Ngozi Nwaolisa, the Communication Assistant at the ECOWAS Secretariat, on Saturday.

Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defence, under the aegis of the Mediation and Security Council (MSC), had on Nov 9 recommended that the concept be adopted by regional leaders during their one-day meeting in Abuja.

The concept was developed by military experts from the region, the African Union, the UN, European Union and partners at a planning meeting held in Mali earlier this week.

They had recommended the enlargement of the force from the original 3 300 troops proposed under the ECOWAS Mission in Mali (MICEMA) and the participation of other African countries.

"It was subsequently considered at the 5th November 2012 extraordinary meeting of the ECOWAS Chiefs of Defence Staff (CCDS) whose Chairman, General Soumaila Bakayako, briefed the MSC on the outcome of their meeting.

"The one-day meeting of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS will consider this and other recommendations that will contribute to the resolution of the crisis in Mali.

"The leaders will also be briefed on the political and security situations in the country by the President of the ECOWAS Commission and by the Mediator and Associate Mediators on the status of their efforts," it said.

The statement said they would also review the situation in Guinea Bissau where two agreements had been signed between ECOWAS and the government to formalise the deployment of the regional force and the reform of the country's security sector.

- NAN

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