The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) leaders will soon hold a special meeting to discuss security challenges confronting Cote d’Ivoire.
President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan of Nigeria stated this while hosting Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara, at the opening of bilateral talks between Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire, at State House Abuja, the nation's capital on Monday, August 1.
The President, who is current Chairman of the regional body, said ECOWAS recognised the security challenges in the aftermath of the post-election crisis in Cote d’Ivoire, and assured President Ouattara of the regional body’s support in efforts to stabilise the country.
President Jonathan urged the Cote d’Ivoire leader to vigorously promote reconciliation among his people, in order to restore peace and confidence in the population.
Speaking on bilateral issues, President Jonathan welcomed a proposal from President Ouattara that the status of the leadership of the Nigeria-Cote d’Ivoire Joint Commission should be elevated to presidential or vice-presidential level, in order to further strengthen and speed up the implementation of agreements reached.
He said the presence of a large number of Nigerians in Cote d’Ivoire made that country an area of special interest to Nigeria, and added that the two nations should continue to work together to strengthen bilateral relations.
Earlier, President Alassane Ouattara told President Jonathan that he came specifically to “express deep gratitude for your personal interest and effort at resolving the post-election crisis in Cote d’Ivoire”, and Nigeria’s support.
He also acknowledged the assistance which ECOWAS gave to his country, adding that he had already taken steps towards total reconciliation by constituting a Truth and Dialogue Committee, with members nominated to represent all interest groups in the country.
President Ouattara said his country was committed to stronger bilateral and mutually beneficial relations with Nigeria and under the umbrella of ECOWAS.