News / Africa

AU: Standby Force Needed to Respond to Conflicts

Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz (2nd R) walks with African Union (AU) delegates at the 22nd AU summit in Addis Ababa, Jan. 31, 2014.
Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz (2nd R) walks with African Union (AU) delegates at the 22nd AU summit in Addis Ababa, Jan. 31, 2014.
Gabe Joselow
The African Union summit wrapped up Friday with a call to fast-track an African standby force to better respond to conflicts across the continent.  AU leaders say the recent violence in South Sudan and the Central African Republic underscores the need for rapid intervention. 

In his closing statement, newly appointed AU chairman Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, the president of Mauritania, said African nations must commit resources to resolve the continent’s problems.

“Africa must do what is necessary” he said, “to accelerate the operationalization of the African standby force and the African capacity for immediate response to crises in a spirit of continental solidarity,” he said.

The African Standby Force was supposed to be launched in 2010, with contingents based across Africa, but the date has been postponed repeatedly.  The AU now wants the force to be operational by next year.

In the meantime, some African nations inspired by the 2012 crisis in Mali have called for a temporary rapid intervention force that would respond to conflicts until the Standby Force is ready.

Security issues dominated the AU summit, with concerns about the conflicts in South Sudan and the Central African Republic.

Earlier Friday, envoys from the East African regional group IGAD called for teams to be sent to South Sudan to monitor a shaky ceasefire deal designed to end deadly clashes between the government and rebel soldiers.

Reports of continued fighting have already threatened the week-old deal.

Speaking at the meeting, the U.S. special envoy to South Sudan, Donald Booth, warned  “there will be consequences” for anyone who tries to undermine the peace process.

On Saturday, the AU is hosting a donors' conference in Addis Ababa to raise money for the African-led peacekeeping force in the CAR, torn apart by months of political and inter-religious violence.  The Red Cross reports another 30 people were killed this week in the capital.

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Comment Sorting
by: Telescope
February 03, 2014 12:32 PM
Given all Africa's coups, intercine violence and instability it is hard to believe that peace will ever come to this continent and the UN merely issues statements condemning them. Rwanda, the CAR Sierra Leone, Nigeria and others are some examples. However in fairness the West also has some explaining to do regarding consistency given the past in Africa.

by: Bol from: Bor
January 31, 2014 3:21 PM
An envoy from the US is using a threatening to Africans in the Africans summit! The US have to adjust to recent realities. South Sudan is an African state in Africa. All those bullshits that the US gave birth to South Sudanese and South Sudan.

And that South Sudan should be constantly treated like a US 51st state aren't going to be bought by the South Sudanese any more. The US can go to hell with its evil aids that its kill people then threaten people who don't want it evil intrigues.
In Response

by: Anonymous
January 31, 2014 9:05 PM
The irony is that even the Africa force, if created, will need to be funded by USA and EU. The AU leaders do not have money for such, what they get is for their personal use and their juntas. The chance of a force like that are not great. Short of serious regional bodies like SADC,what will remain is the current warlords to try proxy wars in a dash for spoils in the name if trying to solve problems. So far IGAD is dysfunctional, otherwise there would not have been a unilateral deployment of troops/militia of a member state to help Kiir agaisnt part of his own army and citizens.

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