ECOWAS should not subsidize UN Peace-keeping Missions in Africa - Buhari

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President Muhammadu Buhari has canvassed that funds being mobilized by members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to combat terrorism should be used strictly to support peace and internal security arrangements within the continent and not to subsidize the mandate of the United Nations Security Council. Buhari’s angst came amid growing calls by the international community for African countries to shoulder more of the financial burden as the cash-strapped United Nations struggle to sustain its peace-keeping missions across Africa.

“In this regard, my delegation will always fervently contest attempts to make Africa subsidize the primary responsibility of the UN as clearly provided in its Charter,” Buhari told a meeting of the African Union Peace and Security Council at the 33rd AU summit held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia at the weekend. Speaking on the state of peace and security on the continent, Buhari commended the renewed vigor by ECOWAS member states to mobilize their own resources to tackle insecurity in the sub-region. He called for new strategies by the AU to effectively prevent, manage and resolve conflicts in the face of new circumstances and emerging challenges. He announced that Nigeria had fulfilled its financial obligations to the AU Peace Fund up to 2019, pledging to continue investing in peace and security on the continent.

On ECOWAS matters, Buhari declared that Nigeria was proud to continue to serve as a strong contributor to the peace roles played by the regional bloc. “In Burkina Faso, we (ECOWAS) pledged to mobilise one billion United States dollars to address the challenges of insecurity in our region and the Sahel. In Guinea Bissau, ECOWAS successfully midwifed the general elections.

“Nigeria, along with other ECOWAS member states, led in the restoration of democracy and peace in the Gambia,” he said, while welcoming the collaboration of the AU with other regional economic communities in resolving conflicts on the continent. On the security challenges in Africa, the Nigerian leader said it was regrettable that terrorism, violent extremism and other forms of vicious conflicts had continued to cause mayhem and untold crisis on the continent. “Nigeria condemns, in the strongest terms, the perpetrators of terrorism in Libya, the Sahel, Lake Chad Basin, and parts of the Horn of Africa. We reiterate that efforts must continue to be pooled to mitigate this dreadful violence and secure the future of our continent,” he said.

On new strategies to resolve conflicts on the continent, President Buhari said: ‘’The AU must strengthen its own capacity for mediation and develop an effective intervention roadmap.’’ He added that more emphasis should be placed on promoting national dialogue, reconciliation and social cohesion in order to rally all actors towards sustainable peace.

President Buhari also welcomed the decision of the AU Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) to adopt the regional stabilization strategy for the Lake Chad Basin and the renewal of the mandates of the Multi National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) and the G5 Sahel Joint Force. He told the meeting that Nigeria was very encouraged by the resolution of the continent’s standing decision-making body for conflict prevention, management and resolution, on the Lake Chad Basin.

“We are hopeful that the Inter Water Basin Transfer Initiative for the recharging of the Lake Chad will address some of the drivers of terrorism, particularly the impact of climate change and inter-communal clashes over access to natural resources. We equally call on the Assembly to direct the full implementation of these AU-inspired initiatives,” Buhari concluded.