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ECOWAS Parliament says regional security operations must be strengthened to prevent coups



ECOWAS parliament

Last Updated on July 28, 2023 by Fellow Press

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament have said that the ECOWAS Commission must strengthen collective regional security operations with the African Union to stop the threat of coup d’etats in the sub-region.

This is one of the recommendations contained in the draft report presented at the end of delocalised meeting of the ECOWAS Parliament Joint Committees on Political Affairs, Peace, Security, and the African Peer Review Mechanism, Judicial Affairs and Human rights, Social Affairs, Gender and Women Empowerment on Friday.

The delocalised meeting, which held in Monrovia, Liberia, from July 25 to July 28, aimed at proffering the best mechanisms for ensuring greater political inclusion in governance in member states, peace, security to prevent and resolve the multifaceted crisis faced by states.

The draft report which would be adopted by plenary at the next session of the Parliament contained recommendations to the Member States, the ECOWAS Commission and Parliament on ensuring the peace, security, stabilisation and good governance in Member States.

With the threats of insecurity in the region, the ECOWAS Parliament Committees stated: “We appeal to the ECOWAS Commission to work hard to strengthen collective regional security operation in collaboration with the African Union and key partners.

“To encourage regional efforts in addressing the concerns and common security challenges that makes the state fragile and susceptible to coups.

“Encourages the ECWOAS Commission to continue to intensify dialogue with the transitional authorities in Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso.

It stated that: “In order to ensure the follow up and implementation of the transition time-table with a view to accelerate the return to constitutional order in these states.

“Urges the ECOWAS Parliament to develop mechanisms to enable it to be proactive, operational in conflict prevention and management.

“Urges the member states to centralise military commands to avoid formation of elite military units or parallel military forces whose command and control is outside a unified command structure.”

Speaking to journalists at the end of the meeting, Sen. Edwin Snowe, Leader of the Liberian Delegation to the ECOWAS Parliament, lamented the backslide in democratic rule in the sub-region, describing it as a shame on the region’s democracy which must be stopped.

Snowe, who was also Chair of the Joint Committees’ delocalised meeting, expressed optimism in the leadership of President Bola Tinubu of Nigeria, who is Chair of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of States, to intervene in the recent coup in the Republic of Niger.

“It is actually war in Guinea Bissau two weeks ago when President Tinubu said zero tolerance to coup d’etats and less than two weeks later there is coup d’etat.

“This morning, the President have asked me to join him on Sunday to Abuja for the Extraordinary Summit of the ECOWAS Heads of State. We hope that the Heads of States will come up with some decisive positions of this matter.

“It is actually a shame on our region and we hope that we will find a way to stop this. Because it 8d backsliding from democracy. Gone are the days when we had the Samuel Doe, Jerry Rawlings, Yahaya Jameh, Abacha’s. Gone are those days.

“We have made significant progress in our drive to democracy so to see us going back to where we come from is a shame and I hope that something will be done in a faster manner for us to correct the situation.

“It is a big test for Nigeria and the leadership of the Chairmanship of President Tinubu and we are hoping that there will be some drastic measures to correct this situation in our region.

“This time around, ECOWAS will not be a sleeping bulldog. I believe in the leadership of President Tinubu and I am sure he will make a difference,” Snowe said.

He however noted that for every successful coup with a loss of a member state, it undermines the work of ECOWAS bodies and institutions, reiterating that the leadership of ECOWAS will stand firm protecting the region’s democracy.

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Emmanuel Macron announces dissolution of National Assembly



Last Updated on June 10, 2024 by Fellow Press

French President Emmanuel Macron has announced the dissolution of the National Assembly, following defeat of his party in 2024 European Parliament (EP) elections, according to local media report.

“I have decided to give you back the choice of your parliamentary future through the vote. I am therefore dissolving the National Assembly,” Macron said in a short speech.

“This is a serious, weighty decision. But it is above all an act of trust,” he added.

He added that the elections to the National Assembly are to take place in two rounds on June 30 and July 7.
Macron’s Renaissance party gained 15.2 per cent of the votes in 2024 European Parliament elections, far behind far-right National Rally who received 31.8 per cent.

“The unprecedented gap between the presidential majority and the leading opposition party reflects a stinging disavowal and rejection of the policies led by Emmanuel Macron,” RN President Jordan Bardella said after the EP elections results were unveiled, quoted by local media.

“We’re ready for it. I call on French people to join us in forming around the RN a majority in the service of the only cause that guides our steps: France.” parliamentary party leader of RN, Marine Le Pen, said Sunday evening on social media platform X.

The EP elections were held from June 6 to June 9, with voters of the 27 EU member states selecting 720 lawmakers to the 10th EP.

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UN adds Israel to blacklist



Last Updated on June 10, 2024 by Fellow Press

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has added Israel’s military to a global list of offenders that have committed violations against children, his spokesman confirmed on Friday.

Israel had been told it is being placed on the list in the secretary-general’s annual report on children in armed conflict, to be sent to the UN Security Council next Friday, Stephane Dujarric told a press briefing.

Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad were also added to the list, according to a diplomatic source, along with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

Dujarric added that the Israeli UN mission was called by Guterres’ chief of staff on Friday, a courtesy afforded to countries that are newly listed. “It is done to give those countries a heads-up and avoid leaks,” he said.

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan recorded a video of himself making a phone call from his office, apparently to a UN official, and leaked part of it on social media.

In the video, Erdan expressed outrage at the UN decision, calling the IDF “the most moral army in the world.”

“The only one who is blacklisted today is the secretary-general, whose decisions since the war started, and even before, are rewarding terrorists and incentivizing them to use children for terror acts… Shame on him!”

Dujarric said it was “shocking and unacceptable” that Erdan had apparently published the private call, saying it was “something he had never seen in my 24 years serving this organization.”

Israel’s inclusion on the list comes after eight months of war in Gaza, in which more than 15,500 children have been killed, according to the Ministry of Health in the enclave.

The war was sparked by a Hamas-led assault on Israel on October 7, which killed 1,200 people and saw some 250 others taken hostage. Many are still in captivity and Hamas’ top leadership is still at large despite the Israeli onslaught.

The UN’s so-called blacklist has previously included countries such as Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian envoy to the UN, said the decision to add Israel to the list “will not bring back tens of thousands of our children who were killed by Israel over decades and will not restore normal life for the children who were permanently disabled by its actions.”

“But it is an important step in the right direction towards ending the double standards and the culture of impunity Israel has enjoyed for far too long and that left our children vulnerable to its consequences.”

The annual report will go to the Security Council on June 14. The official report will be published on June 18. It will be discussed at a debate in the council on June 26.

Asked about ramifications, the UN spokesman said it will be up to the members to decide any action.

The war has seen Israel-UN relations reach historic lows with Israeli diplomats using their platforms at the UN to denounce the world body.

Israel’s quarrel with the UN has gone beyond the secretary-general. Israeli officials have also criticized the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), the World Health Organization, UN Women, and the UN’s Special Rapporteur for the Occupied Palestinian Territories Francesca Albanese.

Meanwhile, dozens of UN staffers have been killed in Gaza since the conflict began, the largest loss in the world body’s history.

Israel has long accused UNRWA of anti-Israeli incitement, which UNRWA has repeatedly denied, and in 2017, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sought to dismantle the UN body, saying it should be merged with the main UN refugee agency.

Since the October 7 attack, Israeli journalists and news outlets have refocused their attention on UNRWA and have amplified stories questioning its role in the war.

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