News / Africa

Great Lakes Security Accord Reviewed at AU Summit

Gabe Joselow
African leaders from the Great Lakes region met Sunday at the African Union summit in Addis Ababa to discuss progress bringing peace to the Democratic Republic of Congo. Security is high on the summit agenda, as is a proposal that could be a game-changer for the International Criminal Court case against Kenya’s president.

Fresh from celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the founding of the organization that would become the African Union, African leaders got down to business Sunday to address the conflicts plaguing the continent.

Members of the Great Lakes region met to discuss the progress of an agreement signed in February to end conflict in the eastern DRC.

The agreement was signed by 11 countries in the region including Rwanda and Uganda, who have both been accused of supporting rebellions in eastern Congo, a charge both countries deny.

Sunday’s meeting follows a resumption of fighting in eastern Congo between the M23 rebel movement and the Congolese army.

AU Commission chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said the overarching aim of the agreement must be to improve lives in the region.

“We must keep in mind the ultimate goal of all our interventions to allow the people of the Great Lakes to live in harmony and peace, to use the proceeds from their natural resources to build infrastructure, social services and contribute toward a shared prosperity," she said.

The agreement helped clear the way for the deployment of an intervention force made up of soldiers from Tanzania, South Africa and Malawi to be integrated into the existing U.N. peacekeeping mission.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was “deeply touched” during his recent trip to the region and that the framework is a good start, but more needs to be done to give hope to the people of eastern Congo.

"I think this framework agreement could be a landmark one, but it’s the minimum which we are doing. I think we should do more," he said.

Heads of state are considering the recommendations from the Peace and Security Council on other regional conflicts, including a peace agreement between Sudan and South Sudan, who are still trying to resolve final status issues remaining from their split in 2011.

Another agenda item is a proposal agreed by African foreign ministers and the AU executive council to ask the International Criminal Court to refer the case against Kenya’s leader back to the Kenyan courts.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto are facing separate charges of orchestrating the violence that followed the election in 2007.

The proposal to move the case has support among many African leaders who feel the ICC process unfairly targets Africans.

You May Like

Video Russia’s Syrian Escalation Tests Obama’s Crisis Response

Critics once again question whether president has been slow to act on Syrian conflict, thus creating opening for powers like Russia More

Ancient African DNA Shows Mass Migration Back Into Africa

First genetic analysis of ancient human remains in Africa suggests massive migration from north around time of Egyptian empire More

NASA: Pluto Has Blue Sky

New photos also reveal the presence of water ice More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugeesi
Henry Ridgwell
October 08, 2015 8:02 PM
Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs