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-   His Excellency Honorable Jean Claude Gakosso, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Congo, Chairperson of the Peace and Security Council for the month of December 2017,

-   His Excellency Honorable Harry Kalaba, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Zambia, Host of the Seminar

-   UN Assistant Secretaries-General,

-   Members of the Peace and Security Council

-   Distinguished Guests,

-   Ladies and Gentlemen,

-   Good Morning

On behalf of the Chairperson of the Commission, and on my own personal behalf, I wish to thank His Excellence, Harry Kalaba, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Zambia and the people of this sisterly country for the warm welcome and the facilities that have been put in place in order to ensure that this Seminar successfully achieves its intended objectives. I would also like to express gratitude to His Excellence Jean Claude GAKOSSO, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Congo and Chairperson of the PSC for the month of December 2017, for including the convening of spirit of this seminar in the PSC Programme of Work for this month. Furthermore, I wish to acknowledge with appreciation the efforts deployed by our long stand partner UNITAR in providing support, as usual, to this Seminar.

As we all know, this is the 5th time we are meeting in our efforts to ensure that the activities of the African Members of the UN Security Council (A3) are guided and synchronized with the decisions of the Peace and Security Council in the endeavour to promote and defend common African positions on peace and security issues of concern to Africa and its people in the Security Council. I can bear witness that, since the inauguration of the High Level Seminar in Algiers, Algeria in December 2013, notable progress has been made to enhance cooperation between the A3 and the PSC on peace and security issues in the continent. Both the PSC and the UNSC have to coordinate efforts using their comparative advantages, in support to the cause of peace in Africa. This is in line with the Solemn Declaration that was adopted by the AU Assembly during the OAU/AU 50th Anniversary, on 25 May 2013, in which the Heads of State and Government pledged not to bequeath the burden of wars to the next generation of Africans.

Indeed, the PSC is not a new comer here, as this is not the first time that the Council and invited participants are convening here in this beautiful town of Livingstone. In 2009, it was in this town that the PSC organized its Retreat on interaction between itself and civil society organisations in the promotion of peace, security and stability in Africa. The Retreat developed and adopted the Livingston Formula to guide the interaction, which has been scaling up in the work of the PSC since then.  We are assembled, once more, in Livingstone for the fifth High Level Seminar on Peace and Security in Africa.

This Seminar builds on the foundation laid down by the four preceding seminars, which have provided excellent opportunities to forge best means and ways of further strengthening and enhancing the capacity of the A3, to better promote and define, on the basis of the decisions of the PSC, African common positions within the UN Security Council decision making process. On many occasions during the UN Security Council debates on peace and security issues in Africa, the A3 members have remain solidly united and spoke with one common African voice. This is progress which we are proud of and should continue to enhance.

Another of the several positive results of these seminars is that the PSC receives regular briefings by the Coordinator of the A3, on the efforts of the A3 in the UN Security Council decision making process. This is so despite the fact that Africa still does not have pen holders or even co-holders to lead the drafting of UNSC resolutions on African peace and security issues. I believe we will hear more from the PSC participants and the outgoing A3 members regarding their experiences, lessons learnt and best practices, which will by and large contribute towards preparing our incoming A3 Members, namely Cote d’Ivoire and Equatorial Guinea, to continue consolidating the work and contributions of the A3 in advancing the African agenda in the UN Security Council. The fact that the AU Permanent Observer Mission to the United Nations in New York is the secretariat of the A3, provides another strong building block in the PSC-guided efforts of the A3 in the UNSC.

As is the practice, this Seminar also provide us an opportunity to receive updates from AU Special Envoys and Representatives on the current peace and security situations on the continent, which are in the agenda of the PSC and that of the UN Security Council, for the benefit of the PSC, the incoming A3 and of course, all of us.

-    Excellences,

-    Ladies and Gentlemen,

Our continent continues to suffer from the scourge of violent conflicts and disruptive crises. Further aggravating this situation is the rise of terrorism, violent extremism, transnational organized crimes and trafficking networks afflicting various parts of our continent. These are exacting a high toll on our civilian population and our gallant peacekeepers, as well as causing damage on our economies and infrastructures. We stand with the families that have lost their loved ones in these conflicts and terrorist attacks. It is our responsibility, through the PSC, to ensure that peace reigns in the continent and foster development activities to elevate the livelihood of Africans. Indeed, to defeat threats to peace and security in our continent, there is no other option other than solidarity, collective efforts and coordination among ourselves. It is high time that we come up with a mechanism to boost the implementation of the previous Seminars’ conclusions in enhancing synergy between the PSC and the A3.

Indeed, Africa continues to make progress in addressing and resolving conflict and crisis situations, albeit limited financial resources and other constraints. I wish to highlight that we are making significant strides towards peace in Somalia, the Central African Republic, Guinea-Bissau, just to mention these ones. We have formidable challenges still to overcome in Libya, South Sudan and in Mali/Sahel, where the AU remains closely seized.  The Nouakchott and Djibouti Processes, in their own right, provide us with suitable platforms for boosting our intelligence in the fight against terrorism, violent extremism, radicalization and networks of traffickers. Thanks to the ever growing goodwill of our Member States, the AU Peace Fund is being revitalized.

It would be remiss of me if I conclude without, once again, commending and reiterating the gratitude of the AU Commission to the Government of Zambia for hosting this very important Seminar, and also for spearheading efforts to mobilize the required momentum in order to silence the guns in Africa. We all know that the PSC Retreat which adopted the AU Master Roadmap on Silencing the Guns by the year 2020 was held in Lusaka in this country.

Only with robust PSC and committed A3, bound by close cooperation, inspired by the will of Africa, that we can further enhance our efforts to effectively articulate and defend our common positions on peace and security in Africa, within the UN Security Council. Our ambition to silence the guns by 2020, is aimed at contributing to creation of conditions conducive for building an integrated, peaceful and prosperous Africa in line with the spirit in AU Agenda 2063.

With these few remarks, I wish you all a very fruitful 5th High-Level Seminar.

I thank you for your kind attention.

 

Posted by Limi Mohammed

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