|Zuma, Ping square up at AU meeting|
|Sunday, 15 July 2012 00:11|
Caesar Zvayi in ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia
President Mugabe joined 14 other heads of state and government for the African Union’s Peace and Security Council meeting that convened here yesterday to deliberate on ways of resolving conflicts afflicting the continent.
Zimbabwe is one of the three Sadc members in the powerful 15-member PSC, the only AU organ tasked with enforcing union decisions.
Top of the agenda was the situation in Mali that recently underwent a coup and where rebels, reportedly moving south from Libya, are clashing with the Malian army. A source close to the deliberations said on Mali four principles were upheld, namely the inviolability of the country’s territorial integrity with the leaders dismissing plans for a breakaway state, saying the continent was divided enough by colonialism and new boundaries will not be countenanced.
The second principle was the creation of an inclusive government to foster a sense of involvement and participation among the protagonists.
Third was the establishment of representative institutions in the wake of the illegal regime change that occurred. Fourth, negotiations, but only with rebel elements not linked to acts of terror ravaging the region.
The PSC also resolved to move towards stemming the scourge of organised crime like drug trafficking, and the opening up of humanitarian corridors to assist refugees.
The Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) was reportedly pushing for a military option against Mali amid resistance from the PSC in the wake of overtures from Paris that time was ripe to move in with analysts, saying France was relishing another Cote d’Ivoire after successfully deposing Laurent Gbagbo, who dared violate the Francophone colonial pact.
Said the source: “One president, in fact, told summit that the current thrust was towards re-integration. As such, secession would be a step backwards . . . The general tone was one of anxiety that it is not just an issue of Mali but the breakdown of security in the Sahel region traceable to the instability that occurred in Libya.’’ On Sudan, the source said the PSC received a briefing from former South African president Cde Thabo Mbeki, who told the meeting that peace was holding as there was general agreement between Khartoum and Juba that the conflict was mutually destructive.
The PSC recommended that Sudan and its southern neighbour should evolve a relationship that makes them peaceful and viable neighbours.
Mayardit emphasised his commitment to unconditional peace, saying this did not mean his country did not have outstanding issues,’’ said the source.
The PSC’s recommendations will be presented to the Ordinary Session of Heads of State and Government that opens here today. Apart from receiving and deliberating on the PSC report, the 19th Ordinary Session is expected to be seized with choosing the AU Commission chair in the wake of the deadlock that characterised the 19th Ordinary Session earlier this year when none of the candidates — incumbent Jean Ping and Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma of South Africa — garnered the required two-thirds majority.