29 January 2013

Africa: Conflicts Resolution Tops African Union Summit

Response to the conflicts ravaging the continent dominated agenda at the just-concluded AU Summit in Addis Ababa.

The 20th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government brought together about 36 leaders, UN chief Ban Ki-moon, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, AU Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, among others.

"While we are proud of the progress made in expanding and consolidating peace and security on the continent, we also acknowledge that a lot is still desired to resolve ongoing, renewed and new conflicts in some African countries," Dlamini-Zuma said.

She added that more effort is needed to address conflict situations in Somalia, Guinea-Bissau, eastern DR Congo, Central African Republic, Darfur, Comoros, Sudan, South Sudan, Madagascar, Western Sahara and more recently, Mali and the Sahel.

"We must also continue to support those countries that are in post-conflict situations, to consolidate their reconstruction and peace-building efforts," she said.

Dlamini-Zuma urged AU to remain firm on its stance against unconstitutional change of governmentsing.

"We must enhance our capacity to defend democratically-elected governments and their territorial integrity, we need to accelerate the operationalisation of the African Standby Force for quick response capacity," she said.

The newly-elected AU chair, Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, expressed support for the African initiative.

Helping Mali

"We should do everything possible to restore constitutional order in Mali, safeguard the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country and address the humanitarian crisis in collaboration with Ecowas, the UN, and other international partners," he said.

President Paul Kagame, who also attended the high-level meeting, said peace and security situations in Africa present urgent reminders of the need to quickly build capacities to address root causes of conflicts.

The summit was held under the theme, "Pan-Africanism and the African Renaissance, a call for greater integration among states and a celebration of the continent's rapid economic growth."

According to Ban Ki-moon, Africa has the experience to forge solutions for its challenges and contribute to global goals of inclusive growth, social justice and protecting environment.

"I have visited nearly 30 African countries. I listened to the leaders and the people and I have seen countries emerging from war and those with long-established peace. I have seen innovation, imagination and the tremendous determination of Africa's people to thrive and prosper," he said.

Addressing the current situation in the DR Congo, Ki-moon said the UN, AU and others are working together to protect civilians in conflict-stricken areas.

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