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Press Briefing by Hon. Sam K. Kutesa, Minister of Foreign Affairs on the Major Outcomes of the African Union Summit

Monday, 3rd February 2014
Hon. Sam K. Kutesa, Minister of Foreign Affairs

Distinguished Members of the Press,

I called you today to brief you on some of the main issues from the recently concluded 22nd Assembly of the African Union Heads of State and Government, which took place on 30-31 January, 2014 in Addis Ababa. Mauritania assumed the Chairmanship of the Assembly (taking over from Ethiopia).

1.0 Ministerial Retreat on Vision 2063: 24-26 January, 2014

The Summit was preceded by a retreat of the Executive Council (at Ministerial level), to discuss and agree on "Africa's Vision 2063. As you may recall, we celebrated the Golden Jubilee (50 years) of the founding of the Organization of African Unity/African Union in May, 2013.

Africa's Vision 2063, therefore, seeks to map the way forward for Africa for the next fifty years. The Vision recognizes that that, Africa still has many challenges to grapple with, including:

  • Unemployment, especially among youth and women and lack of adequate social protection;
  • Increased income inequality, with 6 of the world's 10 most unequal countries;
  • Poverty, characterized by de-industrialization, declining agricultural productivity, rising food and nutrition insecurity; and
  • Poor and ineffective economic policies and inefficient public administration.

Therefore, the Vision outlines the following as some of the key future drivers for socio-economic transformation:

  • Need for new technologies and innovation, including human development;
  • Natural resources exploitation as major source of domestic revenue;
  • Infrastructure development;
  • Improvement in health and protection of women, children and vulnerable groups;
  • Agriculture-driven structural transformation;
  • development of strategies to tackle the effects of climate change, for environmental and sustainable development;
  • Developing the manufacturing sector and increasing inter-regional trade;
  • Promotion of the private sector as a key development partner, to increase employment and value addition to Africa's natural resources; and
  • Promotion of Peace and Security and support to fragile states.

2.0 Executive Council and Summit
Following the retreat, the Executive Council held its Session on 27-28 January, 2014 feeding into the Summit. The Summit discussed a wide range of issues of interest to Africa, including peace and security; climate change; and socio-economic development. Most importantly, the Summit held further discussions on the establishment of an African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises (ACIRC).

As you may recall, a decision was made in May last year to establish this mechanism, as an interim measure pending the finalization of arrangements to put in place an African Standby Force. The Summit:

  • Operationalised ICIRC, whose deployment shall be authorized by the Peace and Security Council, in accordance with the provisions of the Constitutive Act;
  • Took note of the following initial participating countries: Algeria, Angola, Chad, Ethiopia, Guinea, Mauritania, Niger, South Africa, Senegal, Uganda and Tanzania;
  • Encouraged more Member States, in the spirit of inclusivity and solidarity, to volunteer capacities for ACIRC; and
  • Established an Operations Coordination Strategic Center at the African Union to work on modalities for activating ACIRC.

On the sideline of the Summit, there were a number of other side meetings held, including:

  • An Extra-ordinary IGAD Summit on the situation in South Sudan;
  • A Summit of the Peace and Security Council on the situation in South Sudan, Egypt and Central African Republic;
  • Meeting of the Regional Oversight Mechanism for the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the DRC and the Region;
  • Meeting of the Committee of Ten on UN Reform; and
  • A NEPAD Summit on Financing of Infrastructure in Africa.

I will now highlight the outcomes of some of these side meetings:

2.1 Extra-Ordinary Summit of the IGAD Heads of State and Government

An IGAD Extra-ordinary Summit was held to discuss the situation in South Sudan. As you are all aware, the situation in South Sudan has been volatile since political tensions turned into a military confrontation on 15 December, 2013. IGAD held its first Extra-ordinary Summit on the situation in Nairobi on 27th December, 2013 and the Second was held on 31st December, 2014.

Since the first Summit, some progress has been made. On 23rd January, the parties signed a Cessation of Hostilities Agreement in Addis Ababa. They also signed an Agreement on Political Detainees. Prior to the Extra-ordinary Summit, seven (7) of the eleven (11) detainees were released, and the legal process for the remaining four is still on-going.
The Summit reviewed progress on the situation, and among other things:

  • ReiteratedIGAD's position of not condoning any unconstitutional attempts to change a legitimately elected government of South Sudan by force;
  • Reaffirmed its resolve to combat impunity by holding to account those responsible for commissioning and committing atrocities and human rights abuses;
  • Called on the Parties to respect and expeditiously implement the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement signed on 23rd January 2014, as well as provide all necessary support to ensure the operationalization of the Monitoring and Verification Mechanism as soon as possible. In this regard, the Summit directed IGAD Special Envoys to establish an initial Monitoring and Verification Mechanism presence in South Sudan within 48 hours;
  • In line with the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement, urgedthe Parties to ensure the progressive withdrawal of armed groups and all allied forces invited by either side from the theatre of operations. I am aware that some media houses have misinterpreted this as a call for Uganda to withdraw its troops. This is not correct.
  • Urged the Parties to maintain the momentum of the peace process, with strong commitment and resolve, by launching the Second Phase of the negotiations on the 7th February 2014 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia as agreed and declared by the Parties and the Mediators.

2.2 Summit of the Peace and Security Council
This Summit considered the situation in South Sudan, Egypt and CAR, and among others, made the following decisions:
2.2. South Sudan,

  • Like IGAD, the PSC reaffirmed AU's principled position on the total rejection of unconstitutional changes of Government and of any attempt to seize power by force, in line with the AU Constitutive Act, as well as the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance;
  • Condemned the killing of thousands of civilians, mass displacements of populations, and widespread violations of international humanitarian law and human rights. Council also reiterates AU's concern at the impact that the continued conflict in South Sudan could have on regional security and stability;
  • Demanded that the parties faithfully and fully abide by their commitments under the Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities, to effectively end hostilities and hostile propaganda; and
  • Underlined the importance of the commitment made by the Parties to an all-inclusive dialogue and reconciliation process, with the aim of resolving the issues connected with the current crisis and laying the foundation for lasting peace, security and stability in their country.

2.2.2 Egypt

  • The PSC reiterated Africa's solidarity with the people of Egypt, whose aspirations to democracy, the rule of law and well-being are fully consistent with the relevant AU instruments. Council further reiterates AU's commitment, in line with its duty and responsibility towards all its Member States, to assist Egypt in overcoming the challenges confronting it in the spirit of Pan-Africanism and the search for African solutions to African problems;
  • It noted the steps taken by the interim authorities in the implementation of the Roadmap for the transition that they outlined on 3 July 2013, notably the adoption of a new Constitution, through a referendum held on 14 and 15 January 2014, and the decision to hold presidential elections, to be followed by legislative elections, within a period of 60 days, as well as the other developments that took place in the country over the past few months; and
  • It urged the interim authorities to ensure the broadest possible participation in the forthcoming elections and their holding in the required conditions of freedom, fairness and transparency, in line with the relevant AU instruments, notably the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance.

2.2.3 CAR

  • Expressed concern over the security situation and the resultant worsening humanitarian situation in Central African Republic; and
  • Congratulated the National Transitional Council for the election of H.E Catherine Samba-Panza as the Transitional President, as well as Mr. Andre Nzapayeke as Prime Minister on 20th January, 2014.

2.3 Regional Oversight Mechanism for the DRC and the Region

As you will recall, countries of the ICGLR and South Africa, in Addition to the ICGLR, SADC, AU and UN signed a Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the DRC and the region. Therein, we made commitments towards regional peace and security and development for our region.
The meeting in Addis Ababa was the 3rd meeting of the Regional Oversight Mechanism, which reviewed progress. The meeting also adopted an Action Plan to operationalise the benchmarks which were adopted in September in New York.

Kenya and Sudan signed the Framework during the meeting, increasing Membership to 13 countries, and four guarantors: ICGLR, SADC, AU and UN.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

3rd February, 2014

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