His Excellency President Jacob Zuma’s intervention during the TICAD-V Summit, Japan
PLENARY 4: Peace and Stability
- The year 2013 marks 50 years since the creation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), today known as the African Union. For us, this is a time to reflect how far we have come as a Continent in addressing problems that affect us, especially those related to our peace and security.
- Indeed, there is much that has been done to liberate Africa from the scourge of conflict, poverty and underdevelopment, and many measures have been taken to restore peace and stability on the Continent.
- The adoption of the Protocol relating to the Establishment of the Peace and Security Council in 2002 placed urgency on peace and security matters on the Continent and articulated the AU’s commitment to peace and security, especially as it relates to sustainable development. It prioritised the enhancement of African capacity in dealing with insecurity through the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts.
- More importantly, it enabled the creation of the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) as the main decision making body on all matters of peace and security on the African Continent.
- This Protocol, as you know, created the basis for the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA), whose five pillars include the African Standby Force (ASF), intended to be fully operational by 2015. The AU’s Peace and Security Architecture was established to assist the Continent with conflict prevention and the promotion of peace and stability on the Continent.
- At the recently concluded AU Summit, it was decided to create the African Crisis Response Initiative as an interim measure to provide a rapid response capacity while the African Standby Force is being finalised. The recent crises in Mali, Guinea Bissau, Central African Republic, and Niger demonstrated the need to have this kind of capacity. This capacity will make it possible to respond speedily to any crisis wherever it occurs in the Continent. After all, Article 4 h) of the Constitutive Act implores us to follow a policy of non-indifference to instances of instability, insecurity and gross human rights violations.
- We also have to take into account that the impact of the sanctions regime as envisaged by the Lome Convention and the Algiers Protocol regarding the AU position against unconstitutional changes of government seems to be decreasing in impact. The phenomenon of coup leaders packaged as mutinous soldiers, turned rebels forcing negotiations with democratically elected Governments with an aim of power sharing that will ultimately transfer power to themselves is of great concern.
- It is also important that while we engage in these efforts to promote peace and security on the Continent, we continue to address the root causes of conflict.
- The continued threats of maritime piracy, terrorism and violent extremism remain a concern and continue to cause massive insecurity on the Continent. It is against this background that the African Union has established the Sub-Committee on Counter-Terrorism supported by the African Centre on the Study and Research of Terrorism (ACSRT). The mandate of this Committee is to ensure all international, continental and regional instruments aimed at combating terrorism are ratified and implemented. The activities of this Committee also include providing regular reports on terrorist activities, including the perpetrators of these heinous acts.
- All that I have said illustrates the commitment that we have as Africans to find solutions to our own problems, to secure a better life for our people. We understand that peace, security and stability are fundamental to the attainment of development and growth.
I Thank You.