EU/Afrika — 17th EU-ECOWAS Political Dialogue at Ministerial Level

Lux­em­bourg, 15 June 2010 — COMMUNIQUÉ
1. The Sev­en­teenth Polit­i­cal Dia­logue at Min­is­te­r­i­al Lev­el between the Eco­nom­ic Com­mu­ni­ty of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Euro­pean Union was held in Lux­em­bourg on 15 June 2010 under the Co–Chairmanship of H.E. H. Odein Aju­mogo­b­ia, Min­is­ter of For­eign Affairs of Nige­ria and H.E. Miguel Ángel Morati­nos Cuyaubé, Min­is­ter of For­eign Affairs and Coop­er­a­tion of Spain on behalf of the High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the EU for For­eign Affairs and Secu­ri­ty Pol­i­cy, H.E. Cather­ine Ash­ton.

2. The ECOWAS del­e­ga­tion fur­ther includ­ed H.E. James Vic­tor Gbe­ho, Pres­i­dent of the ECOWAS Com­mis­sion, Colonel Mahamane Toure, Com­mis­sion­er, Polit­i­cal Affairs, Peace and Secu­ri­ty, Mr. Alha­ji Mohammed Daramy, Com­mis­sion­er, Trade, Cus­tom, Indus­try and Free Move­ment, H.E. Adamu Abbas, Under- Sec­re­tary for African Affairs, Min­istry of For­eign Affairs of Nige­ria and Mr. Vin­cent Zakane, Direc­tor of Cab­i­net, rep­re­sent­ing Burk­i­na Faso. The EU del­e­ga­tion fur­ther includ­ed Ms. Car­men de la Peña, Direc­tor Gen­er­al for Africa, Min­istry of For­eign Affairs of Spain, Mr. Chris­t­ian Lef­fler, Deputy Direc­tor- Gen­er­al for Devel­op­ment and rela­tions with African, Caribbean and Pacif­ic coun­tries and Devel­op­ment, Euro­pean Com­mis­sion and Mr. José Cos­ta Pereira, Head of Unit, Africa Task Force, Gen­er­al Sec­re­tari­at of the Coun­cil of the Euro­pean Union. H.E. Said Djin­nit, Spe­cial Rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the UNSG, Unit­ed Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA), Mr. Jean Luc Senou, Res­i­dent Rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the UEMOA Com­mis­sion in Brus­sels and Mr. Sheik Niang, Chargé d’affaires, Embassy of the African Union, also attend­ed the meet­ing as observers.

3. In their open­ing state­ments, the Co-Chair­per­sons high­light­ed the increas­ing use­ful­ness of EU-ECOWAS dia­logue, which has become a build­ing block of the EU-African rela­tions. This is par­tic­u­lar­ly impor­tant in the run up to the upcom­ing 3rd EU-Africa Sum­mit in Novem­ber 2010, where African and Euro­pean part­ners will take stock of achieve­ments to date and plan the next most impor­tant steps ahead.

POLITICAL AND INSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENTS IN ECOWAS AND THE EU

4. The Par­ties took note of the changes brought about by the entry into force of the Lis­bon Treaty. The estab­lish­ment of the Euro­pean Exter­nal Action Ser­vice will pro­vide increased coher­ence to the EU’s exter­nal action and there­fore should result in fur­ther impe­tus for the EU-ECOWAS rela­tion­ship. The for­mat of our part­ner­ship, which has proved high­ly effec­tive, will remain unchanged even though the EU rep­re­sen­ta­tion will be sim­pli­fied.

5. The Par­ties also not­ed the changes in ECOWAS lead­er­ship. In that con­text the EU con­grat­u­lat­ed once again H.E. James Vic­tor Gbe­ho for his nom­i­na­tion as Pres­i­dent of the ECOWAS Com­mis­sion and reit­er­at­ed its firm deter­mi­na­tion to deep­en and fur­ther devel­op the excel­lent coop­er­a­tion achieved with for­mer Pres­i­dent Mohamed Ibn Cham­bas.

PEACE AND SECURITY

6. The Par­ties wel­comed the gen­er­al improve­ment in peace and secu­ri­ty envi­ron­ment in the ECOWAS region in recent times, occa­sioned by encour­ag­ing results in the restora­tion and con­sol­i­da­tion of democ­ra­cy, and nation­al rec­on­cil­i­a­tion process­es.

7. The two Par­ties, how­ev­er, expressed mutu­al con­cern about the per­sist­ing fragili­ty of the region char­ac­terised by some rever­sals in the democ­ra­ti­sa­tion process­es caused by instances of con­sti­tu­tion­al manip­u­la­tion; mil­i­tary incur­sion into pol­i­tics; brazen acts of impuni­ty by some mil­i­taries; and the impacts of drug traf­fick­ing and oth­er forms of transna­tion­al organ­ised crime. In this regard, both pledged to main­tain vig­i­lance and scale up their efforts to defend the gains of the democ­ra­ti­sa­tion process­es, com­bat crim­i­nal­i­ty and mit­i­gate the effects of food inse­cu­ri­ty in West Africa.

Guinea

8. ECOWAS and the EU com­mend­ed the efforts by the polit­i­cal class and all the oth­er stake­hold­ers in the tran­si­tion to return the coun­try to con­sti­tu­tion­al rule and in par­tic­u­lar the lead­er­ship of the Inter­im Head of State, Gen­er­al Sék­ou­ba Konaté with­in the frame­work of the Joint Dec­la­ra­tion of Oua­gadougou of 15 Jan­u­ary 2010. In this regard, the Par­ties wel­comed the set­ting of a firm date of 27 June 2010 for the pres­i­den­tial elec­tions and the con­crete steps being tak­en to pre­pare the coun­try for these elec­tions.

9. Both Par­ties expressed sat­is­fac­tion with the uni­ty of pur­pose demon­strat­ed by the EU, ECOWAS and the rest of the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty, and the mea­sures being tak­en by them with­in the frame­work of the Inter­na­tion­al Con­tact Group, to sup­port the tran­si­tion. They also renewed their grat­i­tude to the ECOWAS Medi­a­tor, Pres­i­dent Blaise Com­paoré, in this regard and for his con­tin­ued sup­port to the process through his spe­cial rep­re­sen­ta­tive in Guinea, Gen­er­al Ali Tra­oré.

10. They urged all stake­hold­ers in the elec­toral process to refrain from all acts liable to jeop­ar­dise the tran­si­tion­al process and wel­comed all inter­na­tion­al efforts in that sense.

11. The Par­ties com­mend­ed the sub­mis­sion of the report of the joint ECOWAS/EU/UN assess­ment mis­sion on SSR led by Gen­er­al Cis­sé and expressed their com­mit­ment to accom­pa­ny the Gov­ern­ment of Guinea in the imple­men­ta­tion of the rec­om­men­da­tions con­tained in the report. The Euro­pean Union announced the con­tin­ued grad­ual resump­tion of its devel­op­ment coop­er­a­tion under arti­cle 96 of the Coto­nou Agree­ment , in line with the agreed scheme of mutu­al com­mit­ments.

12. They wel­comed the open­ing of an Office of the Unit­ed Nations High Com­mis­sion on Human Rights in Conakry, as a mea­sure to fur­ther enhance the efforts of the coun­try con­sid­er­ing the fight against impuni­ty as an indis­pens­able pre­req­ui­site for the achieve­ment of sus­tain­able peace and sta­bil­i­ty.

Guinea-Bis­sau

13. The EU and ECOWAS expressed seri­ous con­cern about the rapid­ly dete­ri­o­rat­ing polit­i­cal and secu­ri­ty sit­u­a­tion in Guinea Bis­sau char­ac­terised by the per­sis­tent under­min­ing of the polit­i­cal author­i­ties by the mil­i­tary and the latter’s indis­ci­pline vis-à-vis the elect­ed civil­ian author­i­ties, wors­en­ing drug traf­fick­ing and the extreme fragili­ty of gov­er­nance insti­tu­tions.

14. The Par­ties renewed their deep con­cern about the inci­dents of 1 April 2010, includ­ing the vio­la­tion of the UN com­pound, the ille­gal arrest and man­han­dling of the Prime Min­is­ter and the Chief of Defence Staff, and the con­tin­ued deten­tion of the lat­ter. Both Par­ties demand­ed tan­gi­ble progress in the cur­rent polit­i­cal-mil­i­tary impasse in the coun­try and urged the author­i­ties of Guinea Bis­sau to solve all the con­tin­ued irreg­u­lar sit­u­a­tions gen­er­at­ed by the cri­sis in con­for­mi­ty with con­sti­tu­tion­al pro­vi­sions and the prin­ci­ple of rule of law.

15. The Par­ties expressed their com­mit­ment to accom­pa­ny­ing the author­i­ties to put an end to impuni­ty and to shed full light on the events of 1 April 2010, as well on the assas­si­na­tions of March and June 2009. They agreed to explore the pos­si­bil­i­ty of tar­get­ed sanc­tions against those respon­si­ble for con­tin­ued insta­bil­i­ty and clear vio­la­tions of the con­sti­tu­tion­al and legal frame­work, as well as inter­na­tion­al law.

16. ECOWAS and the EU called on the nation­al author­i­ties to put in place an appro­pri­ate frame­work for the effec­tive imple­men­ta­tion of all aspects of the reform of the secu­ri­ty sec­tor. In this con­text, they wel­comed the recent approval by the Nation­al Assem­bly of cen­tral ele­ments of the leg­isla­tive pack­age of the reform and the work of the EU mis­sion on SSR.

17. ECOWAS and the EU reit­er­at­ed their com­mit­ment to sup­port Guinea Bis­sau in the ongo­ing reform process, the reform of the secu­ri­ty sec­tor being at its core. ECOWAS under­scored the urgency of mobil­is­ing ade­quate finan­cial resources before the end of 2010 imple­ment­ing the quick impact projects iden­ti­fied by the ECOWAS-AU mis­sion togeth­er with the author­i­ties of Guinea Bis­sau, includ­ing the set­ting up of a pen­sion fund for the mil­i­tary, the improve­ment of the con­di­tions in the bar­racks, the restruc­tur­ing and reori­en­ta­tion of the Armed Forces, and the estab­lish­ment of a mech­a­nism to secure and pro­tect repub­li­can insti­tu­tions. The EU wel­comed the infor­ma­tion pro­vid­ed by ECOWAS.

18. The Par­ties wel­comed the deci­sion by the AU to open an office and appoint a Spe­cial Rep­re­sen­ta­tive in Guinea Bis­sau.

19. The Par­ties expressed their deep pre­oc­cu­pa­tion with the grave impacts of drug traf­fick­ing and oth­er forms of organ­ised crime on the polit­i­cal and secu­ri­ty envi­ron­ment in the coun­try and their cas­cad­ing effects in the ECOWAS region. They agreed on the need to explore and exploit syn­er­gies between all nation­al and inter­na­tion­al part­ners to sup­port the imme­di­ate imple­men­ta­tion of the ECOWAS Region­al Action Plan on Drug Traf­fick­ing, includ­ing the build­ing and sus­te­nance of region­al and nation­al capac­i­ties, as well as the strength­en­ing of coop­er­a­tion between the source, tran­sit and des­ti­na­tion coun­tries, to con­front the scourge. The EU side reaf­firmed its con­tin­ued polit­i­cal and finan­cial sup­port for the Pra­ia Region­al Action Plan.

Côte D’Ivoire

20. The Par­ties expressed their mutu­al dis­qui­et with the lack of progress in the effec­tive imple­men­ta­tion of the Oua­gadougou Polit­i­cal Agree­ment and its sup­ple­ments, in par­tic­u­lar the repeat­ed post­pone­ment of the cru­cial pres­i­den­tial elec­tions. In this regard, they under­lined the expec­ta­tion that the author­i­ties in Cote d’Ivoire would pri­ori­tise the hold­ing of cred­i­ble elec­tions as a nec­es­sary pre­con­di­tion for the con­sol­i­da­tion of nation­al rec­on­cil­i­a­tion and polit­i­cal sta­bil­i­ty in the coun­try.

21. Both Par­ties wel­comed the pledge by Pres­i­dent Lau­rent Gbag­bo to organ­ise the elec­tions before the end of 2010, and encour­aged him to set a firm date for them. They called on him to com­plete as soon as pos­si­ble the direct dia­logue ini­tia­tives with the major polit­i­cal stake­hold­ers to agree on a frame­work to resolve the lin­ger­ing dis­pute over the voter’s reg­is­ter, and cap­i­talise on the 50th inde­pen­dence anniver­sary cel­e­bra­tion to fos­ter nation­al con­sen­sus. The Par­ties expressed full sup­port and appre­ci­a­tion for the Facil­i­ta­tor of the Inter-Ivo­rian Dia­logue, Pres­i­dent Blaise Com­paoré.

Niger

22. The Par­ties wel­comed the estab­lish­ment of inclu­sive insti­tu­tions for the tran­si­tion, rep­re­sent­ing all polit­i­cal ele­ments in Niger, the adop­tion of a con­sen­su­al elec­toral code and estab­lish­ment of a Nation­al Inde­pen­dent Elec­tion Com­mis­sion (CENI). They also wel­comed the adop­tion of a roadmap which, by means of a num­ber of elec­toral steps, paves the way for the estab­lish­ment of a new con­sti­tu­tion­al frame­work and new demo­c­ra­t­i­cal­ly elect­ed author­i­ties. Final­ly, the Par­ties not­ed the com­mit­ment made by mem­bers of the Supreme Coun­cil for Restora­tion of Democ­ra­cy (CSRD) and the gov­ern­ment estab­lished in Feb­ru­ary 2010 to man­age the tran­si­tion, that they will not stand for elec­tion and that they will hand over pow­er at the end of the tran­si­tion­al peri­od, planned for March 2011.

23. The EU referred to the pos­i­tive out­come of the 26 May 2010 con­sul­ta­tions under Arti­cle 96 of the Coto­nou Agree­ment, as well as to the need to ensure full com­pli­ance with the com­mit­ments under­tak­en by Niger, fol­low­ing which the EU would con­sid­er accom­pa­ny­ing the process with grad­ual and sus­tained resump­tion of coop­er­a­tion.

24. The ECOWAS side informed the EU Par­ty about its mis­sion to Niger in May 2010 to express sat­is­fac­tion with the author­i­ties over the tran­si­tion arrange­ment and to encour­age them to ful­fill their pledge to hand over pow­er to a demo­c­ra­t­i­cal­ly elect­ed Pres­i­dent on 1 March 2011.

25. With regard to the cur­rent food cri­sis and the risk of famine in Niger, both Par­ties exchanged infor­ma­tion about the steps being tak­en to coor­di­nate human­i­tar­i­an assis­tance to alle­vi­ate the suf­fer­ing of the pop­u­la­tion, par­tic­u­lar­ly the most vul­ner­a­ble. The Par­ties also urged the rest of the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty to take all nec­es­sary addi­tion­al mea­sures to assist Niger in over­com­ing the impacts of the food cri­sis.