The ECOWAS Council of Ministers on Monday described the preliminary agreement between Malian authorities and the Touareg group as a 'major breakthrough towards the resolution of the crisis in Mali'.
The preliminary agreement to resolve Mali's crisis was signed last Tuesday by Mali's government and the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA).
The agreement was signed under the watch of Burkina Faso's President, Blaise Compaore, who is also the ECOWAS official mediator in the crisis.
The statement released at the end of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers meeting in Abidjan said the preliminary agreement was a signal of the return of peace to Mali.
The statement said the move would pave the way for the success of the July 28 general election in the country.
It called on Malians to use the opportunity of the agreement to ensure lasting peace and unity in the country.
The statement also welcomed the current political and security developments in Guinea Bissau.
It commended all the actors in the Mali and Guinea-Bissau crisis for facilitating the achievement of the current progress.
''The current progress will contribute to stabilise the situations in both countries and holds good prospect for a return to normal political life,’’ it said.
The statement linked recent terrorist attacks in Niger to the fighting in Northern Mali.
''This reminds us of the need to exercise further vigilance, these attacks against Niger are attacks against ECOWAS,’’ it said.