The Sierra Leone Web



Extraordinary Summit of Heads
of State and Government

Abuja, 11 April 2001




Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS met in an extraordinary sesssion in Abuja on 11 April 2001 under the chairmanship of His Excellency Alpha Oumar Konare, current Chairman of the Authority, President of the Republic of Mali, to discuss the security situation in West Africa.

Present at the meeting were the following Heads of State and Government or their duly accredited representatives:

His Excellency Matthieu Kerekou
President of the Republic of Benin

His Excellency Blaise Compaore
President of Faso
Chairman, Council of Ministers of Burkina Faso

His Excellency Laurent Gbagbo
President of the Republic of Cote d'Ivoire

His Excellency John A. Kuffuor
President of the Republic of Ghana

His Excellency Dahkpana Charles Ghankay Taylor
President of the Republic of Liberia

His Excellency Olusegun Obasanjo
President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria

His Excellency Gnassingbe Eyadema
President of the Togolese Republic

Mr. Ousmane Badjia
Minister of the Interior of the Republic of the Gambia representing the President

Mrs. Mahawa Bangoura
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Guinea representing the President

Mr. Ahmed Ramadan Dumbuya
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Republic of Sierra Leone representing the President

Mr. Saliou Cisse
Ambassador of Senegal in the Federal Republic of Senegal representing the President

The following also attended the session of the Authority as observers:

Ambassador Habib Doutoum
Deputy Secretary General, Political Programmes representing the OAU Secretary General

Ambassador Oluyemi Adeniji
Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General

The list of participants is attached in annex.

1. Security situation in West Africa.

Conflict at the border between Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone

The Authority expressed great concern at the continuing tension along the common boundaries of areas of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, and the presence of several irregular armed groups in the region. The Heads of State and Government once again expressed their resolve to build a peaceful, progressive and stable West Africa, in line with the provisions of the ECOWAS Treaty and the OAU and UN Charters. The Authority therefore called on the Mano River Union countries to establish good neighbourliness relations, to avoid the use of force to resolve disputes, and to bear in mind the interest of their countries and the historical links that bind their peoples. The Authority also appealed to the Governments of the Mano River Union States to take individual and collective measures to curb the activities of armed rebel groups operating on their respective territories. The Governments of the countries concerned should disarm any such irregular army on their territories, and should refrain from making any statements that the other parties may consider as a hostile act.

The Authority reaffirmed its desire to deploy ECOMOG troops along the borders. It called on the three governments to work together to implement the decisions taken by the December 2000 ECOWAS Summit in Bamako. The Authority called on the authorities in Liberia and Guinea especially to sign the agreement on the status of ECOMOG forces.

Heads of State and Government also appealed to the United Nations Security Council to authorise and assist the deployment of ECOMOG Forces along the borders in line with the mandate given to the ECOWAS Authority.

The Authority approved the recommendations of the 6th meeting of the Mediation and Security Council and decided to set up a mediation committee comprising the Presidents of the Republic of Mali, the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and the Togolese Republic to encourage a process of open dialogue as a means of rebuilding trust between the Heads of State of the Mano River Union and bring about a speedy return of peace between their countries. The Authority, in this regard, called on the Mano River Union countries to hold more frequent meetings at ministerial level.

The Authority called on the three governments to take necessary measures to stop armed attacks being launched from their territories against their neighbours, and to open their borders without delay.

Heads of State and Government issued an appeal to the Liberian government to rescind its decision to expel the Ambassadors of Guinea and Sierra Leone accredited to Liberia. President Charles Taylor acceded to this request.

The Authority called for the Foreign Affairs Ministers to carry out a reappraisal of the ECOWAS Agreement on Non-Aggression of 22 April 1978 with a view to ensuring its effective application.

Humanitarian Situation

The Authority noted the presence of hundreds of thousands of refugees in Guinea constitutes a heavy financial, economic, ecological and security burden for that country. The Heads of State and Government expressed gratitude to the Republic of Guinea for the warm and generous hospitality which it continues to extend to these refugees. They called on African countries and the international community to lend every necessary assistance to Guinea to enable it to adequately meet the humanitarian needs of refugees and displaced persons.

The Authority noted the need to establish safe corridors to ensure better protection for refugees against rebel attacks, and to enable them to be repatriated without danger. The three governments were urged to initiate appropriate action to protect the refugees in camps and called on the High Commissioner for Refugees to help bring about the improvement in the humanitarian situation in the Mano River Union area.

Sierra Leone

The Authority reaffirmed its support for the 10th November 2000 Cease-fire Agreement brokered between the Government of Sierra Leone and RUF, and urged all parties to the  Agreement to comply with its provisions.

The Authority took note of the deployment of UNAMSIL in certain areas of the Sierra Leonean territory and urged it to accelerate deployment throughout the entire country, including areas currently controlled by the RUF, areas and thus help restore the authority of the Government of Sierra Leone over the entire Sierra Leonean territory.

The Authority took note of the decision of the Sierra Leonean Government to work with the newly-formed Political and Peace Council as a means of advancing the peace process and security a quick implementation of the Abuja Agreement.


The Authority, mindful of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1343(2001) of 7th March 2001 relating to application of sanctions against Liberia, decided to establish a monitoring mechanism to monitor implementation of these measures. In this regard, it decided to deploy an ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council mission comprising Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Nigeria, Togo and the ECOWAS Executive Secretariat to Liberia on the 18th of April 2001. The mission will work in close collaboration with the United Nations team.

Cote d'Ivoire

The Authority praised the spirit of concord displayed during the recent municipal elections in Cote d'Ivoire and called on the Ivorian authorities to continue to promote national reconciliation among the country's sons and daughters. The Authority congratulated General Gnassingbe Eyadema, current OAU Chairman, on having arranged a meeting between President Laurent Gbagbo and Mr. Alassane Ouattara, chairman of the RDR.

Guinea Bissau

Analysing the situation in Guinea Bissau, the Authority called on the authorities to take necessary measures to strengthen social cohesion and stability.

The Authority made an urgent appeal to the international community to provide assistance to Guinea Bissau in this regard to enable the country undertake measures that will improve its economic situation.

Protocol on the Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management, Resolution, Peacekeeping and Security

Reviewing the implementation of the mechanism, the Authority called on Member States to complete the process of adherence to the relevant Protocol by ratifying same in accordance with the Article 57 of the Protocol.

The Authority also urged Member States which have not accredited their Ambassadors to the Executive Secretariat to do so without delay.

The Authority called on the Executive Secretariat to take necessary steps to hasten establishment of the Council of Elders, the Standby Units, and the Observation and Monitoring System.

Implementation of the Moratorium on Light Weapons

Council noted the delay in implementing the Moratorium on the Importation, Exportation and Manufacture of Light Weapons, and again urged Member States which have not done so to establish and commission, without delay, their National Commissions against the proliferation of light weapons.

Measures for Lasting Peace in the Sub-Region

The Authority called on Member States to consolidate peace and regional security in West Africa by taking measures that would help to:

  • strengthen democracy and stability
  • combat irregular armed groups
  • control proliferation of light weapons
  • end the use of children in armed conflicts
  • resolve the problem of refugees
  • strengthen the mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management, Resolution, Peacekeeping and Security
  • post-conflict reconstruction and rehabilitation

Financing the ECOWAS institutions

The Heads of State and Government expressed grave concern over the staggering amount of arrears of financial contributions to the budgets of the Community institutions. They noted that most Member States are remiss in the payment of financial contributions and do not apply the relevant provisions of the Protocol relating to the Community levy which has been set up to generate funds which ECOWAS can use to fund its own activities.

The Authority underscored the compelling need to find a lasting solution to the problem associated with the financing of the Community budgets, failing which the institutions, particularly the Court of Justice and the Parliament which have just been set up, would be unable to operate properly.

Council therefore made an urgent appeal to all member States to take speedy measures to impose the financial situation of the Secretariat by applying the Community levy which is the most effective solution to the chronic problem of contribution arrears.


Done at Abuja on 11 April 2001