ECOWAS’ support for Mali lauded

ECOWASMali Prime Minister Oumar Tatam Ly, has expressed his country’s profound gratitude to ECOWAS for its solidarity and contributions that facilitated the resolution of that country’s crises and the ultimate restoration of constitutional order.

Prime Minister Tatam Ly made the commendation when Prof. Amos Sawyer, Head of ECOWAS Election Observation Mission to the polls in Mali, called on him in his office in Bamako

The Prime Minister mentioned in particular the laudable efforts by the President of the ECOWAS Commission, His Excellency Kadre Desire Ouedraogo, and his management team in advancing the regional integration agenda.

He noted that the support from ECOWAS had encouraged Mali to build on the momentum of its recent successful presidential poll by taking on the challenges of organizing the parliamentary elections in the aftermath of the country’s political and security crises.

According to the Prime Minister, the presence of the regional observers will not only boost the credibility of the elections, but also reassure the local population and the international community about the prevailing peace and security in Mali.

Prof. Sawyer, who met the Prime Minister as part of his consultations with political stakeholders ahead of Sunday’s poll, briefed the Malian leader on the role of the 100-strong regional observation team and their neutrality in the process leading to the country’s complete political transition being facilitated by ECOWAS.

Recalling the key role played by ECOWAS in ending the 14-year bloody civil war in his own country, Liberia, with Mali as part of that process, Prof. Sawyer said this formed the basis for the involvement of ECOWAS and its Member States in helping Mali in its period of need.

“When your neighbour’s house is on fire you have to help put it out,” the head of ECOWAS Mission said, adding that it had become “an obligation for ECOWAS nations to help their Malian brothers and sisters out of crises”.

Prof. Sawyer also met with the Malian Minister for Territorial Administration, Mousa Sinko Coulibaly, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI), Mr. Mamadou Diamoutani, and other officials of the Commission, as well as the Delegate General for elections in Mali, Gen. Siaka Sangare.

The head of ECOWAS observer mission, who was accompanied on the courtesy visits by Ambassador Aboudou Toure Cheaka, President of ECOWAS Commission’s Special Representative to Mali, the Director of Cabinet in the President’s Office, Mr. Denis Ouedraogo and the Commission’s Director of Political Affairs, Dr. Abdel-Fatau Musah, also met with heads of other observer missions.

Speaking shortly on his arrival in Bamako on Thursday, Prof. Sawyer appealed for peaceful parliamentary polls in Mali to consolidate the progress made towards the restoration of constitutional order and the country’s territorial integrity.

He also called on Malians to turn out massively to elect representatives to the 147-member National Assembly from the more than 1,100 contesting candidates.

More than 6.5million registered Malian voters from the country’s estimated population of 16.5 million were expected to cast their ballots in more than 20,000 polling centres during last Sunday’s poll.

ECOWAS observers are being deployed to the country’s eight regions and the municipalities of Bamako, the nation’s capital. GNA

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