1 February 2016

Libya: Kikwete Appointed AU Special Envoy to Libya

The African Union Sunday appointed former Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete its new special envoy to Libya.

Mr Kikwete replaces Mr Dileita Mohamed Dileita of Djibouti, who has occupied the post since 2014.

The appointment of Mr Kikwete gives a high profile to the AU's attempts to restore peace in the North African country that has been rocked by violence since the ouster of long time dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Mr Kikwete's appointment was announced by the AU's Commissioner for Peace and Security, Mr Smail Chergui, during a briefing that touched on many subjects among them Burundi, Somalia and South Sudan.

Rival governments

Libya currently has two rival governments, one based in the eastern city of Tobruk, and another in the former capital Tripoli.

Mr Chergui said: "Spreading and moving towards the east of Libya requires action on our part," adding that the AU has decided to revive the high level contact group on Libya.

Giving a status report on Africa's security situation, Mr Chergui told of hotbeds and success stories.

On the positive side were the successful elections in Burkina Faso, the Central African Republic, Cote d'Ivoire and Nigeria.

Hold elections

On Somalia, he said the AU was impressed by the political process, especially plans to hold elections and the efforts being made by the Amisom peacekeeping force noting: "We have recovered territory from Al-Shabaab."

He urged the international community to boost support to Amisom and help neighbouring countries affected by the Somali conflict.

Mr Chergui called for legal migration by African youth. He said: "We need to maintain our youth in our countries so they can engage in legal migration."

On Burundi, Mr Chergui said the government was hostile to a stabilisation force, but had sought help from the AU to collect guns that were in the hands of civilians.

An agreement

Burundi has also "complained about a neighbouring country training militants" to attack the country, a reference to Rwanda, a fact that Rwanda has denied.

The decision of the summit was that a force can only be deployed in Burundi once the government of President Pierre Nkurunziza agrees to work with such a force.

On South Sudan, Mr Chergui told of positive developments and signing of an agreement, a process being monitored by former Botswana President Festus Mogae.

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