Aug 22, 2013, 10:01 AM
The African Union Commission Chairperson Dr Jean Ping today said the popular uprisings in
Furthermore, the Commission underscored the importance of achieving peace, saying there could be no development otherwise.
Speaking at the official opening ceremony of the 17th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union in
The Chairperson observed that
Mr Ping, who was delivering a review of the situation in Africa from January to December this year, mainly focused on peace and security because the period under review was a difficult one.
He welcomed the impending birth of the new African state of South Sudan, the 54th member of the African Union on 9 July- this coming after the January referendum that confirmed the desire of
He also applauded the end of the crisis in
Mr Ping commended the normalisation of relations between
He however lamented the continuing stalemate in Western Sahara and the lack of progress in the normalisation of relations between
The Chairperson’s delivery also gave great importance and recognition to the role played by the African Union and African leaders in the resolution of conflicts. Of note he highlighted the following:
The conclusion of the agreement on security arrangements in
The offer by Ethiopian Prime Minister Mr Meles Zenawi to make Ethiopian troops available as part of the Interim Force Security for Abyei to facilitate implementation of the agreement
The role played by President Yoweri Museveni in facilitating the
The contribution of the Chairperson of the Inter Governmental Authority on Development Mr Meles Zenawi and his peers in IGAD, in promoting a programme of peace, stability, democracy in Somalia
President Muhamed Ould Abdel Aziz, Yoweri Museveni, Ahmadu Toumani Toure, Denis Sassou Nguesso, and Jacob Zuma were commended for their efforts on
Deepening of Democracy in
Dr Ping also noted progress on the continent in terms of the elections that have been held in some member states in the past six months, in spite of difficulties and short comings in some instances. These elections, he said, bear witness to a “deepening pluralistic democracy” on the continent. In this respect, he acknowledged Presidents Elhadj Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger, Alassane Outarra of Cote D’Ivoire; Yayi Boni of Benin, Goodluck Jonathan Ebele of Nigeria, Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti, Yoweri Museveni Yussef of Uganda, James Alix Michel of the Seychelles, and Idriss Deby of Chad.
Work being done in fulfilment of other priority areas of the Commission
On economic integration, Mr. Ping applauded the joint action undertaken by the Community of Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the East African Community (ECA) to create “the biggest free trade area on the continent”.
He referred to the
Commission’s financial situation
With reference to the financial situation of the Commission, Mr. Ping said the Commission continues to ponder over the issue. The AU, he said, needs to be strong and to be provided with the resources it needs to ensure stability and development.
Theme of the summit
Addressing the theme of the summit “accelerating youth empowerment for development”, Mr. Ping said the theme was timely at this crucial moment given their role in the Arab spring. He said the youth should be capacitated so that they can contribute meaningfully to the development of the continent.
Youth are an asset: guest speakers
Deputy United Nations Secretary General Ms Asha Rose Migiro; Mr. Ahmed Ben Helty Deputy Secretary General of the League of Arab States; and Mr. Lula Da Silva, former President of Brazil and special envoy of the Brazilian President also addressed the opening session.
Ms Migiro dwelt on the UN role in support of the AU’s efforts in peace and security, democracy and empowerment of African youth.