Having achieved some level of peace, what Mali needs now are tolerance, peaceful co- existence, unity and deliberate efforts to preserve the territorial integrity of the country, President Goodluck Jonathan has said.
Speaking at the closed door session of the 44th Ordinary Session of the Conference of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Heads of State and Government on Friday night, President Jonathan said: “From the foregoing, it is clear that any strategy for settling the Malian issue has to be based on a holistic approach.
“We have a responsibility to continue to encourage the government and other parties to the Malian question to continue to exert their best efforts in the ongoing search for a definitive solution to the problems in Mali.
“In addressing the remaining issues in Mali, care must be taken to preserve the territorial integrity and unity of the country, even while room is created for the various groups to co-exist peacefully”, he said.
Jonathan also urged his colleagues and other international partners to give full support to Guinea Bissau, to ensure the success of its forthcoming elections.
He urged all political groups and other stakeholders to ensure the polls are free and fair and to also accept the results in good faith.
He encouraged the winners to form a government of national unity and the armed forces to stay away from governance and respect the new civilian order.
“Our joint Chiefs of Staff conference had recently recommended the re-enforcement of ECOMIB in Guinea Bissau in the run of to the general elections.
“The need to work for the enthronement of the dividends of democracy such as political stability, food security, infrastructure, quality education, employment opportunities, respect for human rights, etc, and the restoration of the country as a responsible member of the international community”, he said.
The President had joined about 15 other West African leaders for the deliberations which ended on Friday.
Among other attendees were President Yahya Jammeh of Gambia, Blaize Compaore of Burkina Faso, John Dramani Mahanma of Ghana, Ellen Johnson- Sirleaf of Liberia, Boni Yayi of Benin Republic, Ibrahim Boukar Keita of Mali, Mahmadou Issoufou of Niger Republic and many others.
The Ghanaian leader was also elected new chairman of ECOWAS during the 2- day conference.
He took over from the host country’s leader, Alassane Outtara.