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Ban calls for collaboration in West Africa

DAKAR, Senegal, Jan. 20 (UPI) -- The 15 countries of West Africa need to strengthen cooperation to avoid instability during the global financial downturn, a United Nations report says.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon released a report Monday calling on West African countries to coordinate efforts in the subregion and to work with international organizations to avoid threats to security and food uncertainty, among other adverse effects hitting developing countries during the global financial crisis, the United Nations reported.

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The U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime recently released a report citing a growing concern about transnational criminal groups using countries in West Africa to traffic narcotics from the Caribbean to Europe.

Ban called on the 15-nation region to collaborate on security-sector reforms, human-rights abuses and establishing a strong rule of law. The report said U.N. operations in the region will place more "emphasis on conflict prevention and peace-building in general, and should be encouraged to boost its role in addressing the threat of drug trafficking in the region," the release said.

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