President Cyril Ramaphosa says Africa is progressing in strengthening stability on the continent. During his speech while chairing a meeting of the United Nations Security Council on cooperation between the global organisation and regional organisations like the African Union (AU), Ramaphosa said the continent is taking responsibility for the complex challenges to its peace, security and development.
“The African Union has recognised the nexus between peace and development. In this regard, the AU has aligned the African Peace and Security Architecture with Agenda 2063, the blueprint for Africa’s Development. This approach aims to prevent and end conflict through dialogue, mediation, peace support operations and a sustained focus on post-conflict reconstruction and development. The invaluable role of the United Nations in support of these African-led initiatives cannot be overstated.”
President Ramaphosa acknowledged the strategic partnership between both organisations and in peace operations on the continent – in the Central African Republic and Mali, the AU-UN Hybrid mission in Darfur and the AU Mission in Somalia among others; commending the brave African women and men who continuing to give life and limb in supporting peace operations.
“Through our cooperation, we also need to address the root causes and drivers of conflict in Africa, including development and governance issues. We must look at all factors that may impede the realisation of a peaceful and prosperous Africa. Despite the significant gains we have made, we remain concerned at the immense humanitarian challenges faced as a result of ongoing conflicts on the continent and the COVID-19 pandemic. South Africa supported the Secretary-General’s call earlier this year for a global ceasefire to respond to the humanitarian challenges posed by the pandemic.”
For his part, UN Chief Antonio Guterres acknowledged that continued close collaboration will be key to ensuring peace in Africa, including silencing the guns.
“The challenges loom large. New conflicts are erupting, the climate emergency is raging and the COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating fragilities, impacting disproportionally women and the most vulnerable. As in other parts of the world, trust is being eroded – which underscores the importance of good governance and respect for human rights. This is not just essential to the continent’s development. It is also crucial to peace and security. Dealing with the pandemic must not take attention away from maintaining peace and security in Africa.”
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The AU Commission Chair, Moussa Faki Mahamat, said the ‘Africa we want’ believes in the principles of international cooperation to address common challenges as one global community calling the AU-UN partnership a blueprint of multilateral cooperation.
“In this regard I will continue to urge the international community in particular the UNSC to acknowledge the principles of burden sharing for the maintenance of global peace and security. This should include the predictable, sustainable and flexible financing of AU-led or authorised peace support operations based on the principle of UN-assessed contributions. As we seek new ways to reinforce stronger multilateral cooperation, we must also address the contradictions of this council that hamper and sometimes impede resolution of conflict in Africa.”
While broadly praising the partnership, Faki also criticised the unsatisfactory relations with the Security Council as evidenced by the difficulty the AU has had in asserting its role in resolving the conflict in Libya and the centrality of Africa addressing African challenges.
The Council has adopted a Presidential Statement that affirms the importance of the strategic relationship between the two bodies while expressing concern at the growing threat to peace and security posed by terrorism and violent extremism on the African continent.
The United Nations Security Council meeting was a prelude to the African Union’s Extraordinary Summit this weekend that will focus on the African Continental Free Trade Area and Silencing the Guns by 2020.