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STATEMENT BY

AMBASSADOR SMAIL CHERGUI

AU COMMISSIONER FOR PEACE AND SECURITY

 

ON SECURITY THREATS AND CHALLENGES FACED BY AFRICA

AT THE FIRST CHINA-AFRICA PEACE AND SECURITY FORUM

14 JULY 2019 IN BEIJING, CHINA

Excellences, Distinguished Delegates,

Ladies and Gentlemen

Allow me on behalf of the African Union Commission and on my own behalf, to express profound gratitude to the Government of China for organizing this very first China - Africa Peace and Security Forum. This meeting is happening at a time when Africa is experiencing growing insecurity and striving to end all conflicts on the continent to ensure a peaceful and stable Africa. Premised around the hallmarks of the great Sino-Africa partnership, this forum provides a platform for us to discuss a comprehensive framework to solidify and continue to enhance China’s support to peace and security on the Continent.

As you are aware, the African Union has since its official inauguration in July 2002, succeeded in preventing and mitigating threats to stability, on the continent. Through our evolving conflict early warning tools and tailored mediation efforts, the African Union has prevented elections-related and other forms of violence from erupting, brokered peace between States and opposition groups, and contributed to long-term stabilization and peace-building through the deployment of Peace Support Operations.

I am happy to see Senior Officers from the Defence Forces of African Member States who were in Lohatla, South Africa in 2015 when we conducted the Continental Field Training Exercise, Amani Africa II which declared the operational readiness of the African Standby Force. I am also happy to see H.E. Beti Assomo Joseph, the Defence Minister of Cameroon who inaugurated the Continental Logistics Base in Douala, Cameroon.  I am also delighted to see Troop Contributing Countries that support the implementation of peace support operations. It is also good to see my sister Marie-Noëlle Koyara, the Honourable Minister of National Defence of the Central African Republic, where I had the opportunity and honour to mediate between the government and 14 armed groups.

These efforts are all in response to the complex conflict context that includes direct attacks by armed groups, including terrorist organisations that target Host Government personnel, civilian populations and peace support operations deployed to assist countries in conflict to achieve peace. The nature of contemporary conflicts, including; the limited or no space for dialogue, the use of asymmetric and complex attacks and tactics, targeted assassinations and improvised explosive devices (IEDs), pose serious challenges for the AU and the broader international community. This is coupled with the limited capacity and capability of the AU to achieve the wide-ranging mandates of the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) and additional tasks of the UN Security Council, when it authorizes African Union peace support operations. In this regard, and without adequate and required resources, training and equipment, responses to conflicts, including the implementation of AU Peace Support Operations will continue to be challenging.

Excellencies, Esteemed Delegates,

Ladies and Gentlemen

As a Union, we continue to demonstrate the commitment of our leaders to silence the guns and ensure a peaceful, stable and prosperous Africa. In this regard, the African Union has established several mechanisms to enhance security cooperation among states: Allow me to name just five critical milestones achieved, including:

 

  1. First: Early Warning Systems at the continental and regional levels established to provide decision makers with timely information, analysis and response options.
  2. Second: The Pan-African Network of the Wise (PanWise) and the Network of African Women in Conflict Prevention and Mediation (referred to as FemWise-Africa) established to support the role and work of the African Union Panel of the Wise.
  3. Third: The African Standby Force offers the rapidity and effectiveness required to adequately prevent conflicts and sustain peace.
  4. Fourth: The AU Mechanism for Police Cooperation (AFRIPOL) is a framework for police cooperation at the strategic, operational and tactical levels among African Union Member States’ police institutions.
  5. Fifth: The African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism aims to assist AU Member States build their Counter-Terrorism capacities through support to research and analysis on terrorism and terrorist groups in Africa.

Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen,

You will agree with me that these five milestones achieved are important comprehensive tools and frameworks that will enable the AU to address peace and security challenges on the continent. These frameworks will be supported by the revitalised AU Peace Fund to enhance ownership of resourcing, and will serve as the principle mechanism through which funding for AU peace and security initiatives will be facilitated. But I must also candidly indicate that we continue to face challenges relating to the timeliness to generate all the required resources and capabilities that the Africa Peace and Security Architecture framework outlines. This is why we appreciate the strategic and reliable partnership between the African Union and the Peoples Republic of China in supporting efforts to enhance AU PSO capabilities.

As an example, the Peoples Republic of China has provided continuous support to AMISOM since 2011, through the donation of equipment, and funding support of approximately 1.2 million US Dollars annually. Additionally, China has provided support to the African Standby Force through the provision of equipment that forms part of strategic stock for the African Standby Force, to the tune of USD 100 million. Following the inauguration of the Continental Logistics Base in Douala on 5 January 2018, the first batch of strategic stocks has been stockpiled. The process to preposition the second batch of equipment in the five Regional Logistics Depots of our Regional Mechanism is also underway.

Furthermore, the additional support of 80 million US Dollars decided by H.E. Xi Jinping, President of the Peoples Republic of China has been very timely to address critical peace and security priorities on the continent, including in the Lake Chad Basin, as well as the Sahel region.

Let me use this opportunity to thank the Government of the Peoples Republic of China for the continued support to the African Union. We also appreciate China for your support to the three non-permanent African members, African Groups and Africa’s positions in the UN Security Council and multilateral forums, to ensure that the voice of the continent is heard and respected. The continuous support of China makes us confirm that our strategic partnership is based on shared values and mutual respect. This is why I am firmly convinced that this first China-Africa Peace and Security Forum will help to solidify our existing strategic partnership.

Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Allow me to also indicate that the African Union would also appreciate continued support to conflict prevention, increased support for the fight against terrorism, as well as sustained capacity building support – including through training and support to other AU programmes – such as the Continental Border Programme, the Pan African Network of the Wise (PANWISE), FEMWISE-AFRICA and the Mediation Support Unit.

The African Union will also continue facilitating the Nouakchott and Djibouti Processes for enhancing intelligence cooperation. Support to African Union efforts in implementing the Peace Agreement in the Central Africa Republic and in preventing the escalation of violence in Libya is also critical. This will help to reduce the threat posed by terrorist groups from the Horn of Africa, through the Lake Chad Basin to the Sahel region. Cooperation with China and support to these efforts will contribute to promoting peace and security on the continent. 

I could not agree more with the previous speaker that multilateralism is critical to ensure our sustained cooperation for a win-win situation for peace and security on the continent, in contribution to global peace.

 

I thank you.

Posted by SitroomCom

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