Monday, January 31, 2011

African Union Summit Stresses Importance of Peace and Security on the Continent

AU summit stresses importance of peace, security in Africa

Delegates have attended the closing ceremony of the 16th African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, Jan. 31, 2011

The 16th African Union (AU) Summit ended Monday here with a plan announced that the next summit will be held in Equatorial Guinea, whose president has just taken over the AU rotating presidency.

ADDIS ABABA, Feb. 1 (Xinhua) -- The African Union (AU) on Monday emphasized the importance of peace and security on the continent as the pan-African bloc ended its 16th summit in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa.

Major issues of concern for African leaders included the situation in Cote d'Ivoire, Somalia and Tunisia, according to a document on Africa's peace and security situation adopted by AU heads of state and government 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 solution to end the impasse.

During the summit, AU's Peace and Security Council decided to set up a panel to deal with the crisis in Cote d'Ivoire. The team is composed of presidents of Mauritania, South Africa, Burkina Faso, Tanzania, Chad, as well as head of the AU Commission and head of ECOWAS.

The panel will evaluate the situation in the West African country, and is mandated to come up with binding solution within one month.

On Somalia, which is going through a crucial transitional period, the African leaders strongly urges 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 recognized 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 Aug. 20 this year.

Meanwhile, African leaders "urgently appeal" to all the Tunisian parties to "work together, in unity, peace, consensus and respect of legality, towards a peaceful and democratic transition," according to the document.

The summit, which has been largely dominated by discussions on Cote d'Ivoire, Somalia, Sudan, Tunisia and Egypt, concluded late Monday after adopting a series of decisions and declarations concerning Africa's development, peace and security.

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