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African Union Will Focus on Continental Peace This Year, Says Official

  • Peter Clottey

Central African Republic is scheduled to hold a presidential election this year.

Central African Republic is scheduled to hold a presidential election this year.

An African Union (AU) official says its Peace and Security Council is scheduled to hold a meeting Friday ahead of the Central African Republic’s upcoming general election.

An African Union (AU) official says its Peace and Security Council is scheduled to hold a meeting Friday ahead of the Central African Republic’s upcoming general election.

El-Gassim Wane, spokesman for the African Union, said the meeting will also focus on the mandate of the continental body’s peacekeeping mission in Somalia which expires this month.

“We will be having two meetings: one to review the situation in Somalia and the other one to review the situation in the Central African Republic,” he said.

Backed by the United Nations, the African Union’s Peace and Security Council established an active peacekeeping mission in Somalia known as AMISOM with an initial six month mandate.

Under the mandate, AMISOM was tasked to support structures of the transitional governmental, implement a national security plan, train Somali security forces, and assist in creating a secure environment for the delivery of humanitarian aid.

Wane said Friday’s meeting will examine AMISOM’s mandate.

“In Somalia, as you are aware, the AU has deployed a mission on the ground which currently has the strength of about 5,500 people, and the issue mainly will be that of the renewal of the mandate of the mission. It should be coming to an end on 17th of January,” Wane said.

He said a recent African heads-of-state-and-government summit expressed commitment towards tackling various instabilities across the continent this year.

The Central African Republic (CAR) is scheduled to hold a presidential election this year.

Political analysts say despite a stiff challenge from ex-President Ange-Felix Patasse and other opposition parties, incumbent President Francois Bozize will win another six year term.

Wane said the AU will support CAR’s election.

“We have present on the ground … we have supported the proceedings of the inclusive political dialogue which stated a number of recommendations, most of which have been implemented. And the election of course will be a key component of the effort that would be deployed this year to push forward the stage for stability and lasting peace in Central African Republic,” Wane said.

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