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African Union Official Hopes for a More Peaceful and Democratic Continent in 2010

  • James Butty

Ramtane Lamamra, AU's commissioner for peace and security says while there were some successes in peace building in 2009, there were also cases of instability

The commissioner of the African Union's Peace and Security Council said he is looking forward to an Africa in 2010 that is more peaceful, more democratic and more resolved to implementing African solutions to African problems.

Ramtane Lamamra said while there were some successes in peace building in 2009, there were also cases of instability in Africa, including unconstitutional change of government.

“I think 2009 has seen some very significant and sustained positive trends towards the improvement of the bilateral relations between some states which used to have conflicting relationships. It has also seen a volatile stabilization process in Somalia. 2009 has also witnessed a relative improvement in the situation in the Sudan as far as the situation in Darfur is concerned. We recall also cases of crises and unconstitutional changes of government in Africa,” he said.

Tensions have been running high between the National Congress Party (NCP) in the north and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) in the south regarding the implementation of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).

Lamamra praised the work of former South African President Thabo Mbeki who chairs the African Union’s Panel on Sudan.

He said the African Union remains optimistic both sides would implement the CPA.

“Obviously we have witnessed the difficulties encountered by the SPLM and the NCP…but we remain fairly optimistic because the statements that we are hearing from the leadership in both camps are clearly indicative of the willingness to resolve those problems,” he said.

Lamamra said the African Union was pleased the unconstitutional change of government in Mauritania was satisfactorily resolved through the return to constitutional order and democratic elections.

He also said the case of Guinea Bissau was showing signs of being resolved through constitutional means.

But Lamamra said in the case of Guinea Conakry, junta leader Moussa Dadis Camara has reneged on his promise not to stand for election.

He also said Madagascar leader Andry Rajoelina unilaterally decided to declare obsolete and internationally brokered peace agreement.

Lamamra said while the opportunity was still there for peaceful transitions in Guinea Conakry and Madagascar, the African Union’s policy on unconstitutional change of government is non-negotiable.

“As the African Union, we do have a very clear and firm doctrine regarding unconstitutional change of government, and that doctrine contains precisely sanctions to be applied against those perpetrators of a coup who refuse to abide by the agreements and contribute to the return to constitutional order,” he said.

Lamamra said the African Union was working closely with the Economic Community of West African States and the regional body’s mediator President Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso on the crisis in Guinea Conakry.

On Zimbabwe where the African Union has supported an African solution, Lamamra said the AU was tempted to characterize the situation in Zimbabwe as a half-full or half-empty glass.

But he said the general trend among the partners in Zimbabwe is toward finding a solution through consensus building.

Lamamra expressed regrets about the lack of progress on Western Sahara and in the conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea.

He hopes that of the nearly 17 African countries that will be celebrating their 50th anniversary in 2010 as independent countries that those countries will thoroughly assess their successes and mistakes and develop a clearer vision for a better future.

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