African Union summit gets under way in Ethiopia

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The African Union summit has begun at the African Union Commission Headquarters in Addis Ababa Ethiopia, with a focus on security and pandemic recovery. The two-day meeting is being held in person, as well as virtually.

The leaders will assess the peace and security situation in Africa.

Calls for the return of civilian rule in countries that have had military takeovers of government:

Terrorism in the Sahel region and recent coups in West Africa are high on the agenda.

The African Union commission leadership says that insecurity in countries is growing because some leaders do not heed to any advice or warning from the African Union.

The AU cannot also intervene even in extreme cases because it would be seen as invading.

“The security situation in the continent calls for a renewed approach. We should question our peace and security architecture and its correlation with the new destabilising factors in Africa. In the absence of intelligence and decisions, I have serious questions about the future of our flagship projects of silencing the guns within the fixed timelines,” says Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson AU Commission.

VIDEO: African Union celebrate 20 years but security remains concern

Ethiopia, which is experiencing protracted conflict since November last year, says it is working towards peace.

The government of Prime minister, Abiy Ahmed has been in conflict with a rebel group in the country’s North, leading to a humanitarian crisis that the United Nations says has affected over 9 million people .

“We have practiced unilateral withdrawal from areas of conflict and used forces that are necessary to ensure law and order, and as a gesture of goodwill we have released high profile suspects with a view of creating a conducive environment. We shall leave no stone unturned in our search for peace in our country,” says Abiy Ahmed.

The assembly will also discuss the granting of an AU observer status to Israel.

“The observer status granted to Israel with full compliance with the same criteria, which governs the matters makes it possible to give our institutions more latitude and possibility of playing its role in the promotion of our decisions on the issues exactly as the Afro Arab countries that have made the decisions in Israel and instruments in the service for peace and quest for bet way and means for the confirmation of two Palestine and Israel living in perfect harmony,” Faki Mahamat explains.

South Africa is among the countries that have opposed this decision. Palestine, which since 2013 has enjoyed observer status at the African Union, is calling for a reversal.

“We call for the withdrawal and objection of Israel observer status at the African Union. We believe that granting Israel Status at the African Union is an undeserved reward. This is actually a reward that encourages Israel to continue violating international treaties breaching all agreements with us, with this reward it gains impunity,” says Mohammed Shtayyeh, Prime Minister of Palestine.

VIDEO: South Africa expresses concern over Israel’s African Union observer status:

Citizens have their own expectations for the summit.

South Africa’s president Cyril Rapamhosa is attending the summit virtually. He has presented a report on the African Union response to COVID-19 pandemic.

For the first time in two decades Eritrea has sent a delegation to the Summit in Addis Ababa through its Foreign Affairs Minister. This follows warm relationship between Eritrea and Ethiopia since 2018 when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed extended an olive branch to its neighbour ending the two-decade enmity.

The Democratic Republic of Congo has handed over the chairmanship of the African Union for the year to Senegal.