Presidents Omar Hassan al-Bashir of the Republic of Sudan and Silva Kiir of the Republic of South Sudan at a meeting during the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on July 14, 2012. The two Sudans have agreed to further talks., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
20th AU Summit kicks off today
Sunday, 27 January 2013 00:00
Farai Dzirutwe in ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia
Zimbabwe Sunday Mail
The 20th African Union Summit will officially start this morning with Heads of State
and Government from the 54 member states now gathered here for the main deliberations which are expected to focus on conflict resolution, United Nations reforms, implementation of past decisions and preparations for the commemoration of 50 years of co-operation in May. President Mugabe, who attended the AU’s Peace and Security Council (PSC) meeting on Sudan, South Sudan and Mali late on Friday night, is expected to take part in key engagements today and tomorrow as African leaders seek solutions to various challenges facing the continent.
The PSC whose High Level Implementation Panel comprises former South African president Thabo Mbeki, former Nigerian president Abdulsalami Abubakar and ex-Burundi president Pierre Buyoya, expressed concern at the continued lack of implementation by Sudan and South Sudan, of agreements reached last September to end hostilities centred on a border and oil revenue dispute.The PSC urged the two countries to immediately implement the agreement on security arrangements, in particular through the establishment of a safe demilitarised border zone.
A few weeks before this Summit, Sudan and South Sudan separately dispatched envoys to Harare to update the Zimbabwean authorities on recent developments in their disputed border area as President Mugabe is widely recognised as an elder African statesman whose guidance on such matters is often sought. Continental peace and security — as has become the trend in recent years — will be the major focus area, particularly within the context of armed conflicts in the DRC, Mali, Somalia, the two Sudans, the Central African Republic, and Guinea-Bissau.
Heads of State and Government will consider various reports compiled by ministerial and technical committees before they adopt any decisions over the two days of the annual Summit.
Among the reports are recommendations from the Executive Council, made up of Foreign Ministers, on implementation of previous decisions, as well as reviewing the deliberations of the Peace and Security Council.
President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone, in his capacity as Chair of the Committee of United Nations Reforms, will table a report on that group’s recommendations on how best the AU can pursue its objective of getting at least one permanent member with veto power on the UN Security Council. Furthermore, there will be a discussion on the report by the Commission on the Transformation of the AU Commission into the AU Authority, as well as on a report by the High-Level African Trade Committee on “Boosting Intra-African Trade and the Establishment of the Continental Free Trade Area”.
AU leaders are also expected to make key appointments to vacancies in the AU Commission, the African Court on Human and People’s Rights, the Advisory Board on Corruption, and the Commission on International Law.
Five members will also be appointed to the Peace and Security Council, whose 15 seats operate on a rotational basis.
According to the draft agenda, Tunisia could table a proposal on establishment on an International Constitutional Court, while Nigeria wants to propose hosting a Special Follow-up Summit on the Abuja 2001 African Union Summit on HIV and AIDS, Tuberculosis and other Related Infectious Diseases around July/August 2013.
Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas is expected to be one of the several high profile non-African guests at the summit where is he is scheduled to deliver a speech during the opening ceremony.