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UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Wednesday 26 May 2004

AFRICA: African Union inaugurates its Security Council

ADDIS ABABA, 26 May 2004 (IRIN) - The African Union (AU) on Tuesday inaugurated its Peace and Security Council (PSC), hailing it as a manifestation of Africa's determination to end conflicts and wars that have been witnessed across the continent for decades.

"The decisions expected of the PSC must be strictly implemented by all the states concerned," Mozambique's president and the AU Chairman, Joaquim Chissano, said in a speech during the launch at the AU headquarters in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

"The Peace and Security Council has been designed to be a strong signal to the African peoples and the international community of our determination to put an end to the conflicts and wars which have ravaged the continent for far too long," he added.

The PSC, which is modelled on the UN Security Council, was established to promote peace, security and stability in Africa, and to create conditions conducive to sustainable development in the world's poorest continent.

It has 15 members mandated to send fact-finding missions to conflict areas where ceasefire accords have been signed and to recommend to the assembly of AU heads of state that troops be deployed in cases of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

"It is important that pragmatic solutions be considered to make it possible to mobilise, in less than a week, the observers and troops whom we may need each time when the need arises," said Chissano.

He called upon the AU to support the Sudanese government and rebels fighting it in the western Darfur region to find a lasting solution to the conflict there, and to help in the ongoing humanitarian operation supporting those displaced by the strife.

"We need to know the truth about what is happening in this region of the Sudan. We need urgent, exceptional activities, more than what we have done so far," said Chissano. "In Darfur as well as in north of Uganda, Africa must help Africa, be it [even just] a little. Africa is generally absent today in the ongoing humanitarian support," he added.


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