International relations

Zuma welcomes AU's Libya peace plan

4 July 2011

South African President Jacob Zuma has welcomed an African Union (AU) framework agreement on a political solution to the crisis in Libya, following the two-day AU summit that ended in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea on Saturday.

The main elements of the AU's framework agreement include that the Libyan parties commit to an immediate start with negotiations, and to an AU Roadmap calling for an immediate suspension of hostilities, a comprehensive ceasefire, as well as a national dialogue under the auspices of the AU High-Level Ad-Hoc Committee and the United Nations.

The framework also calls for the arms embargo to remain in place on the entire Libyan territory, until the completion of the transitional period and the holding of negotiations; and for the parties to request the UN, working closely with the AU and the League of Arab States, to establish and deploy an effective and credible international mechanism to monitor the ceasefire and protect the civilian population.

South Sudan

On the matter of the new state of South Sudan which will officially be able to declare independence on 9 July, Zuma commended both the people of North and South Sudan.

At the same time, Zuma noted that the issue of the Abyei region remained a security concern which required careful attention.

"The President committed South Africa's readiness to support the birth of this state, by amongst others extending a hand in the establishment of their institutions of governance," the Department of International Relations and Cooperation said in a statement.

On Africa's preparations for the UN climate talks taking place in Durban later this year, the AU summit commended all African ministers and negotiators for their efforts to uphold an African common position on climate change.

Youth empowerment

The summit called on all African states to work towards creating safe, decent and competitive employment opportunities for young Africans by accelerating the implementation of the Youth Decade Plan of Action (2009-2018) and the Ouagadougou 2004 Plan of Action on Employment Promotion and Poverty Alleviation.

Sixty-two percent of the continent's total population is below the age of 35, with 20-million young Africans arriving in a labour market that is not ready to receive such a high number of people seeking employment.

"The youth embody the future of the continent and therefore have a role to play in pursuit of its integration agenda," Zuma said, adding that "given the challenges of illiteracy, unemployment, lack of skills, under-empowerment, irrelevant education, lack of access to capital, poverty, diseases, including HIV and Aids and forced migration, it is important to mobilize the youth in our respective countries to focus on the task of development and nation building."

Source: BuaNews


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