Morocco readies to host second summit of Mano River countries
Morocco-Regional, Politics, 7/20/2002
Morocco is readying to sponsor for the second time another summit of the Mano river countries, under the auspices of King Mohammed VI, given the regional dimension of peace and security, said here Thursday Morocco's permanent delegate to the UN, Mohamed Bennouna.
The Moroccan diplomat who was addressing a session of the security council on the situation in the Mano river region that groups Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, said the first summit held last February has yielded some positive effects and "the ice was somewhat broken."
During the reconciliation summit, called the Rabat process, the three countries pledged to honor the non-aggression and cooperation treaty signed in 1986 and agreed to avoid the use of force in settling their divergences.
Bennouna also recalled that pursuant to the summit several ministerial meetings were held in each of the three countries and in Morocco to reactivate defense and security agreements.
Efforts are now focusing on the creation of joint patrols along the borders, said the diplomat who regretted that it was impossible to conduct the confidence-restoration project launched in Rabat as the serious events in Liberia hampered the peace efforts undertaken by Rabat and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Now, the priority is to end the fighting in Liberia and start national reconciliation, he stressed.
Morocco is preparing for a second summit and King Mohammed VI wants the encounter to be really productive, Bennouna said noting that the Moroccan diplomacy is actively working out concrete proposals to be examined at the summit.
He further called the international community to focus efforts for the restoration of peace, which, he said, needs the deployment of a peace-keeping mission and the raising of the adequate financial resources.
As for the Liberian case, he said the country also needs an agreement of good governance principles.
The security council's session was held in the presence of the foreign ministers of Sierra Leone and Guinea, as well as the UN officials for peace-keeping and for political affairs and assistant secretary of the ECOWAS.
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