AU Commission to send new mediation team to La Cote d’Ivoire

African leaders, on Sunday, made a fresh move in a bid to resolve the crisis in La Cote d’Ivoire, and respond to the latest political uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt.

Dr Jean Ping, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, announced at the opening of the 16th African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, that a new five member team has been formed to mediate in the Ivorian crisis.

“A new High Level Group, comprising the heads of state of our five regions and the Presidents of the Commissions of the AU and ECOWAS, assisted by a team of experts, has been constituted to bring the Ivorian parties to climb in tune with their historical responsibility, to preserve their country’s democracy and peace”, Dr Ping, the Gabonese born chairperson said.

The team would join Kenyan Prime Minister, Raila Odinga, to mediate and help restore peace in La Cote d’ Ivoire.

They include Presidents Robert Mugabe (Zimbabwe), Jacob Zuma (South Africa) Jonathan Goodluck (Nigeria) Mohamed Ould Abdel of Mauritania.

Ghana’s President John Evans Atta Mills is attending the summit, which has the theme “Towards Greater Unity and Integration through Shared Values.”

French President Nicolas Sarokozy, for the first time, since the establishment of the AU, attended the Summit. Also present were the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, the AU President, Mr Bingu Mutharika of Malawi and the former President of Ghana, Jerry John Rawlings, who is attending the summit as an AU Eminent Person on Somalia.

African leaders attending the two-day Summit would discuss subjects, related to the political, economic integration and the maintenance of peace, stability and security in the region, and find solutions to Africa’s hot topics.

With a membership of 53 states, the Union is aimed at building a partnership between governments and all segments of civil society, in particular, women, youth and the private sector, in a bid to strengthen solidarity and cohesion among the people of Africa.

The major organs of the AU include the Assembly, the Executive Council, the Pan-African Parliament and the Commission, which reports to the Executive Council.

Dr Ping regretted also the resurgence of crisis in Egypt.

“Egypt is going through a situation, which we need to observe. It is a worrying situation,” he said.

French President Sarkozy, who was the Guest of Honour, challenged the United Nations to reform the Security Council this year, to include one or more permanent African members.

He said:”Don’t wait. Do not make a speech. Make decisions…Give the billion Africans the place they are entitled to and France will support you,’ he said, to an applause from delegates.

The UN Security Council has five veto-wielding members- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States – and 10 non-permanent members.

President Bingu Wa Mutharika of Malawi, who handed over the Chair of the Union to Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Mbasogo, stressed that, agriculture and food security were the basis for sustaining peace, security and development in Africa.

He was emphatic that Africa could be able to feed itself in the next five years.

The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, called for more efforts to address maternal and child health, issues of the youth and to develop a vibrant private sector.

Mr Joseph Deiss, President of the 64th Session of the General Assembly said Africa was an indispensable partner in a global world.

He said the current process of rebalancing the economic, demographic and political world order and the increasing prominence of the African continent on the international stage, gave rise to new hopes as well as new possibilities.

Source: GNA

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