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19.01.2005 General News

Association of West African Citizens calls for integration

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Accra, Jan. 19, GNA - The Association of West African Citizens, a Civil Society Group, on Wednesday urged Heads of States participating in the 28th ECOWAS Summit in Accra, to take concrete steps that would make the integration of the sub- region a reality.

A statement signed by Mr Sountoncoung Drame, Secretary General of the Association, expressed appreciation of the efforts of ECOWAS to bring on board civil society organizations to ensure participation in the integration process.

It however expressed the need for the implementation of the guiding principles.

The statement mentioned some of the hindrances to the integration processes as the continuous harassment, intimidation and humiliation meted to ECOWAS nationals by the security agencies and their cronies in the sub-region.

It therefore called for free movement of personal and goods as a means to bring about total integration of the sub- region. The Association also urged the stakeholders to find quick and peaceful solutions to the conflict in La Cote d' Ivoire.

"We wish to express our grave concern about the stalemate in Cote d'Ivoire and we accordingly call upon all the factions to see reason to end it. We are therefore calling on His Excellency President Laurent Gbagbo, the New Forces and all the political parties to put the interests of that great country beyond any personal and group interests," the statement said.

The Association expressed the hope that the second monetary zone scheduled to take off in July this year, would materialize. The statement commended the existence of a sub-regional Parliament, and the introduction of ECOWAS passport and a sub-regional Court of Justice.

It also commended Ghanaians for successfully organizing a peaceful General Election and congratulated President Kufuor for his re-election for a second term.

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