Buhari confers with Jonathan on Mali crisis; Fmr. President heads ECOWAS Council of the Wise

President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, met with former President Goodluck Jonathan, who is Special Envoy and ECOWAS mediator to the crisis in Mali, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

In a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, the President called on all the actors in the political crisis in the West African country to come together to bring about the desired peace and unity.

Buhari said: “A situation where most parts of the country are in the hands of insurgents calls for a consensus and restoration of peace, not a further escalation of the crisis.”

Jonathan had briefed the President on the current situation in Mali after meeting with the key political actors ahead of the meeting of ECOWAS leaders under the chairmanship of President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana.

He added that the meeting of the regional leaders was necessary to urgently find acceptable solution to the current impasse in the West African nation.

Meanwhile, Jonathan has been appointed Chairman of ECOWAS Council of the Wise, while former executive secretary of the Mano River Union of Guinea, Hadja Saran Daraba, would serve as Vice Chairperson in the reconstituted Council.

The Council, which was established by the 1999 Protocol Relating to the Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management, Resolution, Peacekeeping and Security, is a key pillar in ECOWAS’ peace and security architecture as a supporting organ to the region’s Mediation and Security Council.

Speaking on the occasion, President of ECOWAS Commission, Mr. Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, said: “With the array of the eminent personalities, the Council is now ready to serve as mediators, conciliators and facilitators in the management and resolution of disputes and conflicts in the region.”

Represented by the institution’s Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Gen. Francis Behanzin, expressed his conviction that the wealth of experience of the nominees would positively contribute to mitigating and resolving the growing regional peace and security challenges in West Africa.

Ghana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ms. Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, noted that rising insecurity and recently generated socio-political tensions, as well as their impact on structural and proximate peace and security have “reinforced the need to urgently have a new Council.”

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