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VOICE OF AMERICA
SLUG: 2-316185 Africa / Security (L O)
DATE:
NOTE NUMBER:

DATE=5/25/04

TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT

TITLE=AFRICA / SECURITY (L O)

NUMBER=2-316185

BYLINE=CATHY MAJTENYI

DATELINE=NAIROBI

CONTENT=

VOICED AT:

INTRO: The African Union Tuesday inaugurated its own security council whose mandate is to protect peace on the continent. As Cathy Majtenyi reports from V-O-A's East African Bureau in Nairobi, analysts are skeptical about the success of the council's mission.

TEXT: Leaders of several African countries were among the dignitaries at the official launch of the African Union's Peace and Security Council in Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa.

The 15-member Peace and Security Council is described in a 2002 protocol as being a collective security and early-warning arrangement. Its role is to monitor cease-fire agreements and deploy peacekeepers into volatile areas.

Analysts V-O-A spoke to welcome the idea as a step forward in Africa's effort to take control over developments on the continent.

Jan Van Eck is the Burundi specialist at the Institute for Security Studies in Pretoria.

/// VAN ECK ACT ///

There was a commitment that there must be African solutions to African problems.

/// END ACT ///

He says the African Union broke new ground by sending some 26-hundred troops to Burundi last year to monitor the implementation a cease-fire between the government and the country's main rebel group.

/// 2nd VAN ECK ACT ///

Going there while there's not peace yet, I think, was a completely new principle in international peacekeeping. We would not have been able to reach this stage of the peace process had it not been for the African Mission.

/// END ACT ///

But, he cautions the council's big political challenge will be to decide if and when to intervene in the internal affairs of African countries.

A professor of history and international relations at the U-S International University, Macharia Munene, agrees.

/// MUNENE ACT ///

We do not have the same level of commitment in terms of political liberty, in terms of whether or not somebody should look into what you are doing. Although the A-U has tried to move away from the principle of non-interference in internal affairs, there are still many countries who believe that should not be pushed too far.

/// END ACT ///

He says, having set up the security council, A-U member countries must now follow through by giving the council the funding, equipment, and other resources needed to do the job.

The A-U peacekeeping contingent is expected to have 15-thousand troops. (Signed)

NEB/CM/MAR/KL/FC



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