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West African Countries Need Global Support

West African Countries Emerging From Conflict Need Global Support, Minister Tells UN

New York, Sep 27 2006 1:00PM

West African countries that have emerged from conflict to form democratically elected governments deserve international support to consolidate their fragile progress, ministers from the region have told the United Nations General Assembly as it continued its annual debate in New York.

“My delegation is pleased to see that peace has been restored to Guinea Bissau, Sierra Leone and Liberia,” the Foreign Minister of Guinea, Mamady Condé, said on Tuesday.

But he cautioned that these gains remained “quite precarious,” and urged the international community “to strengthen its cooperation with the democratically elected governments of these countries in order to strengthen peace and ensure the rapid recovery of their economies.”

Mr. Condé also said the peace process in Côte d’Ivoire had entered a “decisive phase with the sensitive issues related to the holding of upcoming free and fair elections.” He urged the parties there to hold dialogue with a view to resolving the crisis.

Togo’s Foreign Minister, Zarifou Ayeva, echoed this call on Tuesday for attention to African countries emerging from conflicts, welcoming the fact that the newly established UN Peacebuilding Commission would consider Burundi and Sierra Leone. “Liberia must also be helped in strengthening its peace,” he said, adding that Guinea-Bissau deserved attention as well.

He also voiced concern about the situation in Côte d’Ivoire. “Given the many pre-existing variables behind the organization of elections in this neighbouring country, no matter how one looks at it, one can only be concerned,” he said. “We hope that the resolution of these variables will allow the holding of free and democratic elections that will lead Côte d'Ivoire to sustainable pῥace.

Regarding his own country, the Foreign Minister said Togo had reached a critical stage in their history with the 20 August signing of a comprehensive peace agreement. The first step in the agreement was to promote policies of openness, peace and national reconciliation. Togo had also established reforms that favoured free and democratic elections and examined the role of army. Those changes allowed for measures to maintain public order and for open social dialogue.


Ends

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