Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, the Minister-designate for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, has called on member states of the ECOWAS Community to carry out their duty diligently in the interest of member countries.
Speaking at a meeting on ECOWAS Treaty in Accra, to discuss the accession of third (non-member) in the treaty, Madam Botchwey noted that, the meeting will give an opportunity to ministers of the Committee of Five Member States the platform to deliberate on the conclusions of the study on the accession of third states to the ECOWAS Treaty.
“The duty entrusted to us by the Heads of State is a solemn one. Indeed, we cannot purport to effectively carry out the duty without deeply reflecting on the reasons behind the growing interest of third states in our Community.
“We should also be minded by the geopolitical considerations, and its underpinnings”.
The Foreign Affairs Minister-designate also stated that observing developments rather attentively in the ECOWAS and the single market which the region offered and its attractiveness for trade and investment, were some reasons influencing high interest in the sub-region.
“We should and must seize the opportunity, guided by the principles of complementarity, and our shared values to leverage these interests for the benefit of the citizens of the Community”.
The multi-sectoral meeting of expert is intended to consider the conclusions of the study, which would be submitted to the Ministers for their comments and, hopefully, endorsement before they are referred to the Heads of State for a final decision.
This accession requests from Morocco, Tunisia and Mauritania was based on the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government at its 52nd Ordinary Session held in Abuja, Nigeria on 16th December, 2017 and it was directed by the ECOWAS Commission.
Members undertook a study that constituted a High-Level Committee, comprising the Presidents of Ghana, Togo, Ivory Coast, Guinea and Nigeria, to address the legal and institutional requirements for third-country accession to the ECOWAS Treaty.
On his part, Minister of Justice-designate, Mr Godfred Dame explained that Morocco had requested to join as a member of ECOWAS, whilst Mauritania and Tunisia wanted to join as associate member and observer, respectively.
“Indeed, the absence of rules within the revised ECOWAS Treaty and Supplementary Protocols addressing the subject matter of the accession of new countries to the Community, respective of the status; that is full member, associate member or observer, has accounted for the failure to decide on their applications for different membership status by the countries mentioned above.
“Our Economic Community lacks specific legal texts, standards or procedures governing the situation, which hitherto was novel to it. There is, thus, an urgent and a pressing necessity for the lacuna to be filled“.
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