Experts of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have begun the process of approving a regional draft convention to control the proliferation of small arms in the region, said a statement issued here on Wednesday.
The statement issued by the ECOWAS headquarters in Nigerian capital Abuja said the process is being finalized at a meeting, which kicked off in Bamako, Mali on Tuesday.
The statement said the three-day meeting would consider the draft convention prepared by two consultants and reviewed by regional and international experts at a meeting in Abuja in March.
When approved, the convention would replace the existing regional moratorium on the importation, exportation and manufacture of small arms approved by ECOWAS in 1998.
That moratorium had twice been renewed in 2001 and 2004.
According to the statement, the experts meeting would be followed by a two-day meeting of legal experts from Thursday (June 1) and that of the ministers of foreign affairs from Monday (June 5).
The recommendations from the three meetings are to be submitted to ECOWAS heads of states for ratification.
Officials of the United Nations, the African Union and some non- governmental organizations are participating in the meetings as observers.