AU prioritises peace, security in Africa
1 February 2011
The African Union emphasised the importance of peace and security on the continent as the pan-African bloc ended a summit that was dominated by discussions on Cote d'Ivoire, Somalia, Sudan, Tunisia and Egypt.
The 16th African Union (AU) summit concluded late on Monday in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa after adopting a series of decisions and declarations concerning Africa's development, peace and security.
Major issues of concern for African leaders included the situation in Cote d'Ivoire, Somalia and Tunisia, according to a document situation adopted by AU leaders during the summit.
On the situation in Cote d'Ivoire, the African leaders expressed their deep concern for the crisis, while encouraging the AU Commission and the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) to continue with their efforts to find a solution to the impasse.
During the summit, AU's Peace and Security Council decided to set up a panel to tackle the crisis in Cote d'Ivoire. The team comprises the presidents of Mauritania, South Africa, Burkina Faso, Tanzania and Chad, as well as the heads of the AU Commission and of Ecowas.
The panel will evaluate the situation in the West African country, and is mandated to come up with a solution within one month.
On Somalia, which is going through a crucial transitional period, the African leaders urged the country's stakeholders to broaden and consolidate the reconciliation process, ensure greater cohesion within the Transitional Federal Institutions, and complete the outstanding transitional tasks, including the constitutional process.
The war-torn Horn of Africa country has not had a functional central government for two decades. It is currently run by the internationally recognised Transitional Federal Government (TFG), which is protected by AU peacekeepers while facing deadly attacks by Islamist insurgent group of Al-Shabaab.
The country is expected to end its transitional period on 20 August this year.
Meanwhile, the African leaders appealed to all parties in Tunisia to "work together, in unity, peace, consensus and respect of legality, towards a peaceful and democratic transition," according to the document.