According to a dispatch from Conakry, the 24th Ordinary Summit reviewed and took decisions on the recommendations made by the Union’s Ministerial Council on the various issues outlined in the Progress Report of the MRU Secretariat and used the summit to deliberate on other vital programs and initiatives that are ongoing to sustain peace security and stability as well as ensure overall socio-economic development in the MRU Sub-region.
The MRU Heads of State and Government further considered the recommendations of the Ministerial Council arising from the report of the Secretary General; commissioned on Administration and Finance; the status of resource mobilization for the Sub-regional Post-Ebola Socio-economic Recovery Program; Peace and Security situation in the Sub-region; report on the legal documents of the MRU; Construction of the MRU Headquarters and the restructuring of the MRU Secretariat, amongst others.
The Heads of State and Government commended the achievements made by the Union in the implementation of activities covering the areas considered and noted with concern the terrorist attacks, which have taken place in West Africa, especially in Cote d’Ivoire resulting in the loss of lives and properties. They reaffirmed their commitment and determination to support the Secretariat in attracting and consolidating partnership for the mobilization of the required resources in support of the implementation of the programs and projects as well as meeting the emerging challenges faced by the Sub-region.
The 24th Ordinary MRU Summit also commended efforts made by each Member State - supported by collaborative efforts, which have resulted in the containment of the spread of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease in the MRU Sub-region. They emphasized the need for building resilience in the Healthcare delivery systems as well as instituting and sustaining measures aimed at medical surveillance of the border areas for effective and sustainable eradication of the plague in the Sub-region.
The Heads of State noted with satisfaction the positive political developments registered in the Sub-region, especially in Guinea and Cote d’Ivoire, where peaceful Legislative and Presidential Elections were held and called for the institutionalization of the necessary measures for the conduct of peaceful elections in Liberia and Sierra Leone in 2017 and 2018 respectively.
The Summit noted with appreciation the MOU signed between the MRU and ECOWAS focusing on the implementation of the cross-border security strategy and stressed the need for stronger collaboration between them for the common good of the Sub-region.
The MRU Heads of State and Government expressed grave concern about the continuous conflict situation as well as terrorist attacks in Burundi, Mali, Nigeria, Burkina Faso and Cote d’Ivoire, which are on the rise and called on national leaders, Africa and the international community to take the required actions aimed at restoring unity, preserving the affected states and arresting terrorism.
They reiterated their profound gratitude to the development partners for their support to the MRU Secretariat and Member states not only to ensure the containment of the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak and the maintenance of peace and security, but their contribution to the Post-Ebola Socio-economic Recovery Programs of the Countries affected by Ebola and the Sub-regional program. The Summit requested the MRU Secretariat to renew dialogue with the Ambassadors of the MRU Member States accredited to the People’s Republic of China with a view to reviving negotiations for the establishment of the Makona Economic Zone in support of the promotion of economic integration.
The Heads of State and Government also reviewed and approved the revised Protocol for the establishment of Air Mano and requested the Secretariat to ensure their implementation.
The Summit finally expressed deep appreciation for the progress made in the implementation of the Food Security Program within the framework of the West Africa Agriculture Productivity Program (WAAPP) supported by the World Bank and Japan, and for the Rice Self-Sufficiency Study supported the Office Cherifien des Phosphates (OCP), which has come up with vital recommendations to guide future thrust and direction.
MRU 24th Ordinary Summit of Heads of States and Government of the Mano River Union was attended by Presidents Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, Alpha Conde of Guinea and Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone, while Cote d’Ivoire was represented by the Minister of Animal Resources.
Meanwhile, the Liberian leader was accompanied to the MRU Summit by Foreign Minister Marjon Kamara, Information Minister Eugene Nagbe, Gender, Development and Children Protection Minister Julia Duncan-Cassell, National Security Agency Director Fumba Sirleaf, amongst others.