Excellencies, Colleague Heads of State and Government
Representative of the United Nations in West Africa and the Sahel
Your Excellencies from sister UN bodies
Mr. Chairman, the Authority of Heads of State and Government
Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen
I take this opportunity first to commend His Excellency Faure ESSOZIMNA GNASSINGBE, President of the Republic of Togo, for his leadership as the Chair of the Authority of Heads of State of ECOWAS and also for the warm welcome accorded to my delegation and I since our arrival in this beautiful city of Lome. I also wish to recognize Your Excellency President ALI ONDIMBA BONGO as Co-Chair of this Summit and I thank him for his invaluable role.
I wish to join others to express profound thanks and appreciation to the sister Region of ECCAS for undertaking such joint collaborative effort with ECOWAS in fostering Peace, Security and the Fight against Terrorism and Violent Extremism within our two regions.
Certainly, the subject of peace and security is so important because no region or country can achieve development and prosperity when the tenets of peace are eroded, and when instability, violent extremism and terrorism are allowed to flourish. Therefore, I commend ourselves for organising this Summit and for all the efforts that went into its preparations.
I wish to commend our Experts and our Ministers for their extensive deliberations on the innovative measures that could be implemented towards making our two regions to become safer, more secure and peaceful and consequentially, better equipped or prepared to pursue desirable economic prosperity outcomes through sustainable transformations.
A key message that is coming out from this Summit is the message of warning to all extremist groups, criminals and terrorists that we in ECOWAS and ECCAS are as united as we are resolute to leave no stone unturned towards fighting and defeating them. We are resolute in our pursuit of and the elimination of all threats to our security.
My delegation considers peace as the bedrock to development and it is against this background that I seize this opportunity to thank ECOWAS for demonstrating coherence and steadfastness in dealing with the challenges to peace and insecurity anywhere these become apparent. My country has become a beneficiary of ECOWAS’s actions to restore peace and tranquility in The Gambia in the aftermath of the Presidential elections in December 2016.
In our consideration of the Declaration of this Summit, I would like to assure that The Gambia will work collaboratively with both ECOWAS and ECCAS towards implementing the recommendations that have emerged.
I wish to commend the report of our Ministers and the recommendations therein and I believe that these recommendations are both reasonable as well as do-able. What it requires is to stay committed to take full control and work closely together in partnership with like-minded bodies including those that can provide additional financing opportunities.
The Government has taken relevant initiatives, which include a comprehensive Defence and Security Sector Reform to enhance peace and security. We are also taking appropriate steps towards the ratification of the ECOWAS Convention against the spread of Small Arms and Light Weapons and the establishment of a National Commission to operationalize the Convention.
In conclusion, I would like once again to express my Government’s commitment to work closely within the ECOWAS framework to ensure the joint implementation of the agreed measures with the ECCAS region.
I thank you all