Our words should be translated into action – president Bio tells African Union

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 2 July 2018:

The chairman of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union – president Julius Maada Bio on Saturday 30th June, urged the African Union that its words should be translated into action to ensure peace and stability in Africa, according to Sierra Leone state media report.

President Bio was addressing Heads of State, Foreign Ministers and officials of African Union attending the Peace and Security Council meeting of the 31st Ordinary Session of the African Union Assembly.

“Our Council also needs to do more than just issuing strongly worded communiqués,” he said; adding that, “It should be borne in mind that words should be translated into action by putting in place punitive measures such as sanctions, especially for those who hinder the peace process as the case may be.”

President Bio also spoke about the peace and security challenges facing Africa: “Our Continent still continues to face lot of challenges such as the dispute over Western Sahara, the conflict situations in Central African Republic, Mali and the Sahel, Libya, the Horn of Africa, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo amongst others.”

But he noted the significant progress that has been made in peace consolidation efforts through the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) in the Lake Chad.

“Let me also recall the solemn declaration that was adopted by the AU Assembly during the OAU/AU 50th Anniversary, on 25th May 2013, where the Heads of State and Government pledged ‘not to bequeath the burden of war to the next generation of Africans and undertake to end all wars in Africa by the year 2020’. This declaration was translated into the AU initiative of Silencing the Guns by 2020; a Flagship Project of the First –Ten Year Implementation of Agenda 2063,” president Bio said.

President Bio also stated that as a Council, the quest for peace should be the central focus of the AU’s mandate, adding that: “For without peace, our aspirations and efforts for a prosperous, integrated, and stable Africa or ‘the Africa that we want’ will hardly be achieved.”

He called for political solutions to ongoing conflicts and engagement with warring parties to ensure that humanitarian assistance reaches civilians, especially women and children who are the most vulnerable.

Other Heads of State, Ministers of Foreign Affairs and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission also addressed the meeting. The AU summit ends today, Monday 2 July 2018.

The main theme of the 31st Ordinary Session of the African Union (AU) Assembly which is taking place in Nouakchott, Mauritania is: “Winning the fight against corruption: A sustainable path to Africa’s transformation.”

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