This Day (Lagos)

8 December 2013

Africa: Jonathan Endorses Stand-By Force for Peace Keeping in Africa

President Goodluck Jonathan Saturday in Paris disclosed that the federal government would throw its weight behind the formation of Africa Stand-by Force, to take control of crises situation in the continent.

The president disclosed this while granting an interview to France 24 television, shortly after the end of a two day-summit on peace and security in Africa hosted by President Francois Hollande of France.

Checks indicated the formation of the Africa Stand-by Force not later than 2015 to enable the continent take charge of its own security, was one of the resolutions of the summit.

According to Jonathan, Nigeria welcomed the formation of the specialised force to take control of the security challenges in Africa.

"We totally support it because we also believe that by having a robust stand-by force, it is much better than the ad-hoc contributions by Nations. They can mobilise very quickly whenever we have challenges and there is the need to deploy them.

"So, we support it and we thank the President and people of France for supporting Africa in this regard" the president said. He noted that a Stand by Force dedicated to conflicts resolution in Africa, would assist the continent in nipping any crisis in the bud before escalation.

Jonathan stressed that it was not necessary waiting for other developed nation to send troops to crisis zones in the continent or waiting for UN Resolutions before troop deployment.

"When you have this stand-by force, they now have an operational order covering the whole of Africa. Anywhere there is conflict, it will not require UN resolution, but a host country's invitation and an endorsement by the AU" he said.

Furthering, he observed that the Stand-by Force should be elastic in its composition and contribution by member States of the African Union.

According to him, contributions should depend on challenges and resources. "As we build up the resources, we increase the strength of the Force. You will not just have men and women wearing uniform, at least they must be equipped in term of arms, logistic and the Force will be under the AU" Jonathan averred.

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