Military

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

AFRICA: Hopes for peace in Africa gaining ground, says AU chairman

ADDIS ABABA, 5 January 2004 (IRIN) - Glimmers of hope are appearing on Africa’s horizon as peace replaces conflict on the war-ravaged continent, the chairman of the African Union (AU) said on 2 January. Alpha Oumar Konare said "compromise, mutual concessions and relinquishment" would further lay the foundations of peace, which were vital for development in Africa.

In a speech marking the New Year, Konare said peace deals were being struck around the continent, citing Angola and Rwanda as examples. Moreover, a final end to the 20-year civil war in Sudan was in sight and also offered hope.

"Although faint, the present glimmers of hope are quite significant, and we have to keep them alive. The most protracted conflicts in the continent are quietening down," added Konare, who was president of Mali for 10 years until 2002.

He went on to warn, however, that many hurdles lay ahead, including those of resolving the crises in Somalia, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. "Unfortunately, there are still some areas of concern," he said in his speech, delivered from AU headquarters in Addis Ababa. "To address them, we need to ensure that border disputes are appropriately settled; we need to promote democratic processes; we need to firmly regulate electoral consultations and to promote the rule of law and institutional procedures. Peace is won on a daily basis, through compromises, mutual concessions and relinquishment."

Konare, who was elected AU chairman at the AU summit in Maputo in July last year, also addressed the subject of HIV/AIDS. "We should all of us mobilise ourselves, without any hypocrisy, to fight the scourge of AIDS, which is still spreading," he said. "Our continent is under a state of health emergency. We should face this reality in order to promote the image of a winning Africa."

In his speech, he also hailed the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), which, he said, was based on ideas of good governance, rule of law, solidarity. "Each and every one of us should feel directly concerned by the new partnership which is being established and should bring his or her own contribution. NEPAD, needless to say, is not a policy aimed merely at seeking assistance. We obviously need foreign investment, but the main thrust of Nepad is the mobilisation of local resources."

Theme(s): (IRIN) Conflict, (IRIN) Economy, (IRIN) Governance, (IRIN) HIV/AIDS (PlusNews)

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