AU Commission chief urges action on Africa instability

The chair of the African Union Commission (AUC) has called on leaders to tackle conflicts in the continent, and condemned a series of coups in some African countries.

Moussa Faki Mahamat made the call on the first day of the two-day AU summit.

War in Sudan and instability in the Democratic Republic of Congo are at the top of the African bloc’s agenda.

Israel’s aggression on Gaza, poverty, climate change and education are other key topics to be discussed.

In his remarks to delegates at the summit in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, Mr Faki – who heads the AU’s secretariat which manages the day-to-day activities of the bloc – said he was extremely worried about a “litany of difficulties” facing the region.

He said Sudan was “bruised, torn, sinking into chaos” from a war that has been raging since 2023, Libya was divided and exposed to foreign interference, and the Sahel region was facing a dangerous power vacuum.

He expressed concern over the instability in the Democratic Republic of Congo, saying the conflict in the east of the country was leading to a worsening of its “eternal crises”.

“Africa cannot remain arms folded and not work to promote genuine peace in the region,” he said.

‘Unconstitutional changes of government’

Mr Faki also criticised “unconstitutional changes of government” following a string of coups in West Africa, and expressed concern that terrorism was destabilising some countries in the continent.

He said the rise in terrorist insurgencies was resulting in “exorbitant military spending, at the expense of vital social sectors, while opening the way to misleading populist speeches.”

His comment comes after three junta-led countries – Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso – announced they would leave the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) after refusing calls to return to democratic rule.

Military leaders have argued that they want to restore security before organising elections.

Mr Faki also voiced concerns about the political crisis in Senegal, after the country’s President Macky Sall tried to postpone the election, due to be held this month, until December

On Thursday, Senegal’s top court blocked Mr Sall’s attempt to delay the polls, with the president vowing to hold elections “as soon as possible”.

Commenting on developments in the country, Mr Faki said: “The situation in Senegal, a model country in terms of democracy, worries us to a great degree.”

However, the AUC chair welcomed the Senegalese government’s decision to follow the Constitutional Council’s ruling, and said he hoped “free and transparent” elections would be held there soon.

Ecowas is also expected to hold a meeting on the sidelines about Senegal’s decision to postpone presidential polls.

Mr Faki’s remarks were overshadowed by Somalia’s president accusing Ethiopian security forces of trying to prevent him from entering the summit venue in Addis Ababa.

Hassan Sheikh Mohamud told reporters that security staff first tried to stop him from leaving his hotel and later blocked his access to the venue where he arrived with Djibouti’s president.

The fracas comes as Somalia accuses Ethiopia of trying to annex part of its territory by signing a deal with the breakaway region of Somaliland, giving it access to the sea.

Source: BBC

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