General News of Thursday, 10 July 2014
The 45th Ordinary Session of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Heads of States and Government starts Thursday in Accra with the menace of Ebola virus expected to feature prominently on the agenda.
Explaining the agenda for the session, Director of Communications at the Flagtsaff House, Ben Dotse Malor, said all member states have confirmed participation at various levels of the Ebola discussions.
“Sometimes some of these subjects are discussed informally among the leaders but I understand that the issue of Ebola is going to be firmly put on the agenda for discussion”, said Ben Dotse Malor.
Other issues to be discussed include security, a recommendation for the introduction of biometric ID cards for all ECOWAS citizens and the abolition of residence permit requirements for all citizens within member states.
He said with the lifting of sanctions on Guinea Bissau by the African Union, there was need for ECOWAS member states and the international community to re-engage with the country and provide the support that is needed to strengthen its institutions.
The political and security situation in the sub-region especially in Mali and Guinea Bissau, was the main topic at a meeting of ECOWAS Foreign and Defense ministers held on Wednesday in Accra.
“Another issue that will be of concern to people is the request to have the Ebola outbreak in the three member states of ECOWAS also put on the agenda of the Heads of State”, Mr Dotse Malor stated.
The Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea where so far, 759 people have been infected with the virus and about 467 of them have died, is haunting the sub region and the leaders hope to adopt a uniform plan to combat it.
Health ministers from 11 West African countries last week adopted a common strategy and promised better collaboration to fight the Ebola virus outbreak, the world’s deadliest to date.
Leaders will consider a report on ECOWAS’s main activities and projects over the first half of 2014 and further discuss the situation in Guinea-Bissau, where a new president was sworn in last month following parliamentary and presidential elections.
Also among the leaders of the 15 member states attending the meeting are Presidents of Mauritania, Cameroon and Chad as well as the President of the African Union Commission and the Secretary-General of the United Nations.