United Nation’s Scribe Ban-Ki-moon has welcomed the adoption by the summit of African leaders of a regional strategy against piracy and other illegal maritime activities in West and Central Africa, the UN news center said Wednesday.
"The Secretary-General welcomes the successful conclusion of the Summit of the Gulf of Guinea Heads of State and Government on maritime safety and security, which took place in Yaoundé, Cameroon," said a statement Wednesday by Mr. Ban's spokesperson. Mr. Ban commended all the participants for their high level of engagement and collective efforts to address and prevent piracy, "which remains a serious threat to the security and economic activities of the affected countries." At the end of the June 24-25 summit in Yaounde, Cameroon was chosen by leaders of the the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Gulf of Guinea Commission (GGC) to host the Inter-regional Coordination Centre on Maritime Safety and Security for the Central and West African maritime space with headquarters in Yaounde. According to the Yaounde Declaration read by Cameroon’s Minister of External Relations, Pierre Moukoko Mbonjo, the decision to create the Inter-regional Coordination Centre in Yaounde is contained in the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Secretaries General of the ECCAS, ECOWAS and GGC. Host president Paul Biya said in his closing address that the Yaounde meeting was a demonstration of African solidarity and concrete prove of its determination to put all that is required in place in order to guarantee maritime safety and security in the Gulf of Guinea. “Maritime piracies, armed robbery, hostage-taking and illicit acts committed on the high seas, on our shores or mainland, pose a serious threat to our development as well as to peace and stability in the Gulf of Guinea,” Biya noted. He reminded his peers that to attain the objective of putting an end to the rising insecurity in the region, all stakeholders will be required to fully play their role in the effective implementation of the Code of Conduct on the prevention and suppression of acts of piracy, armed robbery against ships and illicit maritime activities in West and Central Africa. The summit attended by 14 Heads of State culminated with a joint press conference granted by the President of Chad, Idriss Deby Itno who is the chairperson of the Economic Community of Central African States, ECCAS and the President of Cote d’Ivoire, Alassane Ouattara also chairperson of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS.