AFRICA - special African Union summit on crises in Côte d'Ivoire, Darfur and Congo adopts Common Defence pact and fight against AIDS

Tuesday, 1 February 2005

Abuja (Fides Service) - Africa wants to have more say on the international scene and take its future in its own hands. This was the first impression which emerged at the end of the African Union summit which closed yesterday, 31 January in Abuja, Nigeria. Forty African heads of state and government came together to discuss the continent’s three main areas of crisis, Côte d'Ivoire, eastern Democratic Congo and the western Sudanese region of Darfur.
At the end of the summit the African countries decided to keep their commitment to increase the number of AU peacekeepers in troops Darfur from 1,000 to 3,200. With regard to Côte d'Ivoire the participants called on the United Nations to reinforce its contingent of 6,000 peacekeepers already present in the country. The AU also confirmed its commitment to send a contingent to the eastern part of Democratica Congo to disarm Hutu militia which according to the government of Rwanda use Congolese territory to launch attacks on Rwanda.
The participants also agreed on a Protocol on Non-Aggression and Common Defense Pact of the African Union to try to overcome the chronic instability which has afflicted the continent for decades and triggered a lethal cycle of war-poverty-hunger which prevents development. The Pact with guidelines established by the AU council for peace and security (task force presided by the president of Ghana John Kufuor whose members are heads of state of Algeria, South Africa, Mozambique, Ethiopia and Congo-Brazzaville), appears also as an alternative to a plan presented by president Gheddafi of Libya three years ago with regard to the creation of a continental army.
They also agreed to launch a campaign to fight AIDS along the same lines as the campaign used to help victims of the 26 December seaquake. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 1/2/2005 righe 28 parole 356)