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AU summit seeks to silence “vocal” weapons

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — Seven years ago, the leaders of the continent pledged to the African Union, “the end of all wars in Africa by 2020”, but this goal seems far-fetched.

Nevertheless, an existing goal remains: The annual summit of the African Organization, scheduled for Sunday and Monday in Addis Ababa and the heads of state and government of 55 member states, raises the slogan “Silencing the Rifles: Creating Conditions for Africa’s Development”.

Certainly recent developments have taken place in Central Africa and Sudan, but new crises have occurred from Cameroon to Mozambique, to be added to crises tearing apart countries such as Libya or South Sudan.

In his Thursday speech to African foreign ministers, the head of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki, painted a negative picture of the continent’s situation, from the Sahelian coast to Somalia.

Faki stressed that the unfulfilled goal in 2020 reflects “the complexity of the security problem in Africa.”

As for the Chairman of the African Commission for Human and Peoples’ Rights, Suleiman Eli Derso, he considered, in an article published in the South African newspaper “Mile and Guardian”, that “the weapons are getting louder.”

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who succeeded Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi at the head of the African Union, seems aware of the difficulty of the mission.

In his speech at the end of January, Ramaphosa reminded that conflicts “continue to limit” the development of the continent, and he estimated that the goals of economic integration and combating forms of violence against women “are achieved through the promotion of security and peace in Africa.”

Others insist that the root causes of conflict must be addressed.

“If we want to solve this problem, we must talk about the deep social and economic challenges, and political challenges as well as security challenges,” said Egyptian Ambassador to the African Union, Osama Abdel-Haq.

Influencing Libya

The African Organization seeks to impose its presence on several files and enhance its influence, especially in resolving the conflict in Libya, which has been mired in chaos since 2011.

Ahead of the Berlin conference in January, a spokesman for Fakih complained that the African Union had been “systematically ignored” in the Libyan file, which is handled mainly by the United Nations.

However, the efforts of the African Union were undermined by internal divisions dating back to 2011, when African countries that were members of the United Nations Security Council supported a military intervention opposed by the Peace and Security Council of the African Organization.

A Nigerian source recently said that the African Union was “divided”, citing an example of Egypt, which is a heavyweight on the continent and supports Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, and “does not want the African Union to take over this file.”

To explain the absence of the weight of the African Union in the Libyan file, the researcher at the Institute for Security Studies Schwet and Wald Mitchell believes that “the Libyan crisis (…) was conceived as a crisis occurring at the gates of Europe and in need of direct intervention from European countries.”

Security Council –

Cyril Ramaphosa is also seeking to address the ongoing conflict in South Sudan.

A peace agreement was signed in 2018 under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Authority on East African Development (IGAD), but the formation of a national unity government is constantly being postponed.

Last weekend, South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir met Ramaphosa in South Africa, and the South African Vice President plays an active role in government formation negotiations.

This is a chance for Ramaphosa to show his interest in resolving these issues, away from speeches and pronouncements, according to Pierre Peugeot, advisor on Southern Africa affairs at the International Crisis Organization.

South Africa’s presidency of the African Union coincides with taking a temporary seat on the UN Security Council, giving it the possibility to bring the continent’s voice to the global stage.

In a report released Friday, the International Crisis Group estimated that Ramfossa would have to deal with the sensitivities of African leaders, who “have so far seemed reluctant about collective peace promises.”

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