African Union delegates to a workshop on security sector reform. The meeting was held at AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
U.S Deputy Secretary William Burns says the AU is providing critical political and security assistance, and helping the Somali people rebuild after decades of conflict
Posted on January 31, 2014
Addis Ababa (RBC)
Press Release in Addis Ababa, by the U.S Deputy Secretary William Burns says the AU is providing critical political and security assistance, and helping the Somali people rebuild after decades of conflict.
DEPUTY SECRETARY BURNS: Good afternoon and thank you very much for making the time. It truly is an honor for me to represent the United States here in Addis Ababa at the 22nd African Union Summit. When President Obama and Dr. Dlamini-Zuma met last June, they committed to broaden and deepen the partnership between the United States and the African Union. In the last few months, we have taken important strides to ensure that we realize the full potential of that partnership. Together we are tackling our shared priorities, strengthening democratic institutions, spurring economic growth, trade and investment, advancing peace and security, and promoting opportunity and development.
No issue is more central to this continent’s prosperity than agriculture and food security, and on no issue are our efforts more aligned. Together we are working to achieve our shared goal of a hunger-free Africa by 2025, and through the new alliance for food security and nutrition, a partnership of the G8 and African partner countries, we are making steady progress toward our goal of bringing 50 million people out of poverty by 2022. President Obama’s Feed the Future initiative is helping reduce hunger, poverty and under-nutrition throughout the continent. Last year alone, Feed the Future reached 12 million children and helped 7.5 million food producers increase their yields.
But as all of you know, in too many parts of this continent, violence and conflict hold at risk the region’s economic progress. We are committed to supporting the AU’s active role in addressing regional peace and security. In Somalia, the AU is providing critical political and security assistance, and helping the Somali people rebuild after decades of conflict. In the Central African Republic, AU forces are an integral part of the international peacekeeping force. We have made a commitment to provide up to 100 million dollars of training equipment and airlift support to the AU so that they can continue to lead regional responses to regional crises.
Of course, we are in regular contact with the AU about South Sudan. We strongly support IGAD’s efforts to end the violence, to reach a peaceful political solution, and to halt the growing humanitarian crisis. This afternoon, IGAD mediators and international partners will discuss additional steps the international community can take to support peace efforts and help the people of South Sudan achieve the democratic, peaceful state they fought so long and so hard to achieve.
As all of you know, there are many areas for continued and strengthened partnership between the United States and the African Union. We are particularly looking forward to the first ever U.S. – Africa Leaders’ Summit in Washington this August where we will build on the progress made since President Obama’s trip to Africa last summer and further deepen our collaboration on our shared goals and interests. Again, it is a pleasure to meet with all of you this afternoon and I look forward to your questions. Thank you very much.