AU Summit 2015: Africa vows to end conflicts, xenophobia

Underlining the need to eliminate a host of armed conflicts that most of the African states have been facing, African leaders have vowed to eradicate the scourge of war by deploying African Standby Force (ASF) and achieve peace and security in the continent.

Speaking at a gathering of African heads of state at the 25th African Union Summit in Johannesburg, Zimbabwe’s President and African Union Chairman Robert Mugabe said, “The prevailing political instability and insecurity in some parts of our continent clearly demonstrates the urgent need to fully operationalise the African Standby Force (ASF). This will be an important step towards the goal of silencing the guns by 2020, which is our pledge.”

The long-standing leader of Zimbabwe underlined that peace and security were essential for the achievement of the continent’s developmental targets, including Agenda 2063.

In recent times, Africa has been the victim of terrorism, unleashed by Boko Haram militants, and has suffered terribly due to the outbreak of Ebola virus. Several people have lost their lives, and many people are still dying in the Mediterranean Sea in their desperate efforts to reach Europe and other places. Mr Mugabe urged the leaders representing African nations to intensify efforts to deal with the unfolding tragedy.

Mr Mugabe also stressed that African countries must work collectively to eradicate xenophobic attacks similar to the violence experienced in South Africa in recent month.

The African Union Summit was hosted by South Africa under the theme “2015: Year of Women’s Empowerment and Development towards Africa’s Agenda 2063”. The summit was attended by most African heads of states, including Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir, who is accused of committing war crimes, crimes against humanity The Hague-based organisation has been calling for Pretoria to detain Bashir.

AU Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma told the summit that the recent Ebola outbreak had exposed the weakness of the continent’s health systems. She said the people dying on the Mediterranean Sea and the victims of xenophobic violence in South Africa were driven by factors beyond their control.

During the summit, Dlamini-Zuma began her speech by congratulating recently elected African leaders, including Lesotho Prime Minister Phakalitha Mosisili and Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi and Al-Bashir.

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