Peace and security experts are urging Mali to stay focused on the on-going inclusive Inter-
Malian Community and National Dialogue and Reconciliation initiatives.
The government should additionally, continue with the security sector reform, disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration process.
A Statement issued by the ECOWAS Commission and made available to the Ghana News Agency said these recommendations were part of the conclusions of the maiden edition of the “Inter Regional Economic Communities (REMs)-Regional Mechanisms (RMs) Peace and Security Forum: Policy Dialogue on Mali Experience” held in Accra.
The meeting was organized by the ECOWAS Commission as part of an African continental agreement to “initiate a platform for consultations among the RECs and RMs to formulate and harmonize positions on peace and security, and ensure transparent and mutually-beneficial relations with the African Union.
It brought together representatives from the African Union Commission and the African Standby Forces, the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel, African policy think tanks from member states, independent peace and security experts as well as civil society organizations.
The participants called for ECOWAS to re-assert its leadership in the coordination of efforts to restore peace and stability in Mali in particular, and ensure effective leadership for peace, security and development of the ECOWAS space.
They asked that the regional body supported the Malian authorities to strengthen the capacity of the national army through training in counter-terrorism and asymmetric warfare.
There also needed to be improvement and strengthening of intelligence gathering and sharing between and among the security agencies of the Member States in the region.
Again they recommended the strengthening of early warning and effective response mechanisms within the ECOWAS Commission and the Member States.
Added to that, they said was the need to make stronger constitutional convergence principles – democratic governance, peaceful and credible elections, rule of law and human rights.
The participants encouraged ECOWAS to work more with relevant existing and credible local civil society organizations, traditional institutions, faith-based organizations, women and youth groups, to mobilize their support for the fight against violent extremism and inter-communal conflicts in the region through the implementation of peace education programmes.
There should be robust communication strategies to engage ECOWAS Community citizens and the international community.