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UN envoy calls for closer ties with West African regional bloc

17 February 2012 – A senior United Nations official today called for closer ties between the UN and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to deal with threats and challenges to the region after the 15-member body selected a new leadership team.

Said Djinnit, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for West Africa, issued a statement welcoming the appointment of Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara as President of the ECOWAS Authority and the former Burkinabé prime minister Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo as President of the ECOWAS Commission.

Mr. Ouattara and Mr. Ouédraogo were selected to the posts during a two-day ECOWAS summit in Abuja, Nigeria, that concluded today.

“The incoming leadership should be assured of the continued support of the United Nations to the Community, its Member States and the people of West Africa in their constant search for peace, democracy and development,” said Mr. Djinnit, who also heads the UN Office for West Africa (UNOWA).

He called for ties between the UN and ECOWAS to intensify, citing such threats to the region’s stability as drug trafficking, organized crime, piracy in the Gulf of Guinea and the insecurity across the Sahel following the fallout from the Libyan uprising.

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