The Economic Community of West African States has said it is considering applications from Morocco for membership, Tunisia for observer status and Mauritania for associate membership.
The regional body said it had directed the Authority of Heads of State and Government to set up a Committee of Heads of State and Government comprising Togo, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea and Nigeria, to adopt the terms of reference and supervise a comprehensive study on the implications of the membership.
This was contained in the communique issued at the end of the 52nd Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, made available to journalists on Monday in Abuja.
“Regarding the applications received by ECOWAS from Morocco for membership, Tunisia for observer status and Mauritania for associate membership, Authority decides to set up a Committee of Heads of State and Government comprising the Togolese Republic, Republic of Cote d’Ivoire, Republic of Ghana, Republic of Guinea and the Federal Republic of Nigeria, to adopt the terms of reference and supervise a comprehensive study on the implications of the membership,” it stated.
The Authority noted that matters of accession to the ECOWAS Treaty and the granting of observer status to third countries should be preceded by the appropriate institutional framework which constituted the legal basis for such a decision.
It explained that it had instructed the President of the Commission to immediately commence the preparation of the appropriate Community Act which would set out the decision-making process within the Community, in accordance with Article 9 paragraphs 2 and 3 of the Revised ECOWAS Treaty.
The Authority expressed indignation at the inhuman treatment of African migrants and refugees in Libya and condemned the modern day slavery going on in the Arab nation.
The ECOWAS said it was committed to working with partner international organisations to rapidly put an end to the barbaric activities.
The communique added, “Authority praises the efforts of some member states and partner organisations and countries to repatriate ECOWAS nationals and calls for concerted efforts to ensure greater efficiency in that regard.
“It supports the African Union’s request for an immediate international investigation, to identify and punish the perpetrators of the criminal and barbaric acts.”
The Authority underscored the need to effect structural and institutional reforms that would help reposition ECOWAS institutions for greater efficiency and effectiveness.
“Authority allocates the position of President of the ECOWAS Commission to the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire,” the communique further stated.