World
C.Africa, S.Sudan dominate continental summit
Publish Date: Jan 30, 2014
C.Africa, S.Sudan dominate continental summit
An SPLA soldier stands in front of Leudit church on January 27, 2014. UN aid chief Valerie Amos toured war-torn South Sudan amid a growing humanitarian crisis, with rebels and government accusing each other of breaking a ceasefire aimed at ending the conflict. AFP PHOTO
  • mail
  • img
newvision

ADDIS ABABA - Conflict in Central African Republic and South Sudan dominated the agenda as Africa's leaders gathered Thursday for a two-day summit of the continental bloc in Ethiopia.

Talks, due to be opened by African Union chairman and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn mid morning Thursday, have an official theme agriculture and food security.

But the 54-member bloc will be bogged down yet again trying to resolve conflict in member states.

"The fact that these humanitarian tragedies are unfolding in the two countries at a time when we are talking about 'African renaissance' must be painful to all of us," Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom said, speaking at a ministerial-level meeting on Monday.

"Unless we find (an) urgent solution, the situation in these two countries will have serious implications for peace and security in the region, and indeed the whole continent," he added.

The unfolding humanitarian disaster in CAR, where a 5,300-strong AU force is deployed alongside 1,600 French soldiers, will be a key talking point.

CAR descended into chaos ten months ago after rebels overthrew the government, sparking sectarian violence that has uprooted a million people out of a population of 4.6 million.

On Saturday, after the official summit closes, African leaders and Western diplomats will hold a pledging conference to raise cash for the African Union-led MISCA mission.

"What we hope is strong support for MISCA, to enable it to implement its mandate more effectively," the director of the AU peace and security council, El-Ghassim Wane, told AFP.

The warring parties in neighbouring South Sudan signed a fragile ceasefire last week, but clashes between government and rebels continue, with thousands killed and over 800,000 forced from their homes in bloodshed that has now lasted for six weeks.

Peace talks led by the regional East African bloc IGAD adjourned after last week's ceasefire deal, with mediators calling for the AU to play a greater role in the peace process.

Heads of state will gather at the gleaming Chinese-built AU headquarters, which comes eight months after the bloc marked its 50th anniversary in May.

The controversial role on the continent of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is also expected to be addressed.

Peter J. Pham, director of the Africa Centre at the Atlantic Council, said the AU's slow response to the crisis in CAR points to a deeper institutional weakness when it comes to rapidly evolving conflicts.

He was especially critical of AU plans for an on-call peacekeeping force.

"For all the talk -- we've had it for well over a decade -- about an African standby force, the fact is that when emergencies come up, it starts all over again," he said.

Phil Clark, politics lecturer at London's SOAS University, said the AU faces criticism in its response to crises, especially in South Sudan and CAR.

"There's a lot of concern at the moment that the AU isn't showing sufficient leadership in resolving these types of conflicts," he said.

Leaders are also expected to focus on "Agenda 2063", a 50-year roadmap for the AU that has been a major pre-occupation for the head of the its executive council, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

The one-year rotating chair of the AU, currently led by Ethiopia, will also be replaced.

Mauritania's Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, who became the north African country's president in 2009 after leading two coups in four years, is tipped to take the post.

AFP

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Muslim pilgrims denounce IS but doubt US-led war
As they gather in Saudi Arabia's holy city of Mecca for the annual hajj, some pilgrims have denounced atrocities by Islamic State group jihadists as "a virus" threatening the world....
Fears over fresh eruption halt Japan volcano search
Volcanic tremors and fears over a fresh eruption forced rescuers with gas masks to halt operations to recover bodies from a Japanese mountain on Tuesday, 72 hours after its eruption....
Kutesa rallies Christians to act on global crises
The president of the UN General Assembly, Sam Kutesa has rallied Christians across the globe to act decisively to address global crises....
More than 30 feared dead on Japan volcano
The first deaths were confirmed Sunday among more than 30 hikers feared killed near the peak of a Japanese volcano that erupted without warning, spewing ash, rocks and steam....
Zambia denies rumours of president
Zambia on Friday denied rumours that President Michael Sata had died during a visit to New York after he failed to make a scheduled speech to the UN general assembly....
Mother
A woman convicted of killing two of her newborn babies and keeping their bodies in freezers has received a 35-year jail sentence....
Will police's move to increase the number of investigators help deal with fraud?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter