A high-level annual conference on Peace and Security, aimed at mobilizing efforts to address common challenges facing the African continent, is underway in Lusaka, Zambia.
Senior diplomats of the African Union, among them Ambassador Smail Chergui, the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security Department and the Deputy Special Representative of the AU Commission Chairperson (SRCC), for Somalia, Mr. Simon Mulongo, are among participants attending the 5th high-level forum on Peace and Security.
In his keynote address to the conference, Mr. Mulongo enumerated achievements made by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), in the fight against militant group Al-Shabaab.
"AMISOM is one of the most complex Peace Support Operations ever undertaken in Africa and likely, the deadliest in modern recent times. AMISOM has made major sacrifices in the push to stabilize Somalia," he told participants at the conference.
Since its inception ten years ago, AMISOM, which is African Union's largest peacekeeping operation, has been able to dismantle Al-Shabaab influence and presence in most parts of Somalia, succeeding in maintaining peace, that has enabled robust political activities to take place.
AMISOM is also capacitating the Somalia security forces and institutions, to enable them take the lead, in managing the national security responsibilities.
"AMISOM is reconfiguring its forces to address existing and emerging challenges in this transition," Mr. Mulongo remarked, in reference to the planned transitioning of the security responsibilities from AMISOM to the Somali security forces.
"It is our hope that the much-needed international community support to achieve a smooth transition will be availed, to the Somali institutions too, to enable them to continue stabilizing Somalia after AMISOM," he stated.
Ambassador Smail Chergui, highlighted the conflicts bedeviling the continent and their impact on populations. He called for concerted efforts to find lasting solutions.
"We stand with the families that have lost their loved ones in these conflicts and terrorist attacks," Ambassador Chergui said.
He noted, "It is our responsibility, through the Peace and Security Council to ensure that peace reigns in the continent and foster development activities to elevate the livelihoods of Africans".
The annual Peace and Security conference rallies African members of the UN Security Council, to deliberate and align their activities along a common vision, in line with the AU Peace and Security Council's objectives.
The conference also brings together AU Special envoys and representatives, who provide updates on the peace and security situations on the continent, which are of interest to the African Union and the UN Security Council.
DSRCC Mulongo is representing the Special Representative of the AU Commission Chairperson (SRCC), for Somalia, Ambassador Francisco Caetano Madeira at the Lusaka conference. The conference is expected to come up with tangible resolutions, quiet conflicts in Africa.