Côte d'Ivoire + 3 more

Heads of UN peace missions in West Africa to meet in Dakar on 5 July

Press release UNOWA/2005/13

UNOWA- Dakar, 1 July 2005. The Fifth High-level meeting of all five Heads of UN peace missions in West Africa will be held in Dakar, on 5 July 2005.

Hosted by the UN Office for West Africa, (UNOWA), the meeting will be chaired by Mr. Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah (UNOWA), and attended by Mr. Daudi Ngelautwa Mwakawago (UN mission in Sierra Leone - UNAMSIL), Mr. Pierre Schori (UN mission in Cote d'Ivoire -- MINUCI), Mr. Abou Moussa (UN mission in Liberia - UNMIL), and Mr. Joao Honwana (UN peace-building support office in Guinea Bissau - UNOGBIS).

The High-level meetings aim at fostering a regional approach and furthering progress in harmonizing policies and activities of the UN peace presences in West Africa.

This meeting will be held in the aftermath of the recent decision by the Security Council to close down the peace-keeping mission in Sierra Leone, and will discuss regional contingency planning, especially in the light of scheduled elections in Guinea-Bissau, Liberia and Cote d'Ivoire, and signs of potential instability in other countries of the region.

Prior to the meeting, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa, Mr. Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah said: "It is depressing to note that, in our sub-region, elections are increasingly becoming sources of conflict instead of being a peaceful way of political settlement."

The Heads of missions are expected to focus part of their discussion on ongoing efforts to foster cross-border collaboration among missions through the recently established inter-mission working group. They will also hold a discussion on the growing cooperation with ECOWAS.

The first High-level meeting of UN missions in West Africa took place at UNAMSIL Headquarters in Freetown in November 2003 at which Heads of Missions agreed to maintain a regular mechanism of consultation. Welcoming this initiative, the members of the UN Security Council have called for UN presences in West Africa to take concrete action towards implementing a regional approach, including pulling together UN assets across the region and exploiting synergies between the missions to achieve greater efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

The meeting will be followed by a Press Conference at 17:00 at the UNOWA office, 5 Avenue Carde, 5th Floor, to which the media are invited.

For more information on the UN Office for West Africa, please visit the web site at: www.un.org/unowa

Contact : Myriam Dessables: Tel : +221 849 07 29 Cell : +221 562 9802