ADDIS ABABA - An Extraordinary African Union (AU) summit on the state of peace and security on the continent, held in Addis Ababa, Wednesday, discussed, among other issues, the continued unrest in North Africa.
The special session, proposed by the AU Peace and Security Council, during a meeting last month, provided a platform for African leaders to devise ways of tackling insecurity and unrest witnessed on the continent.
The summit was meant to discuss the state of peace and security in Africa but in the end, the agenda was dominated by the Libyan crisis.
The Assembly, reiterated the need to protect the civilian population, called for an immediate end to all attacks and demanded a ceasefire as per the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973.
While a number of delegates advocated the prompt implementation of the AU’s Roadmap - that rotates around a negotiated political solution - there was debate about the preconditions, including Gaddafi stepping aside.
Addressing the extraordinary session, Prime Minister Bernard Makuza, affirmed Rwanda’s position that the current Libyan leadership has lost credibility and that the alternative Transitional National Council should be supported.
The Prime Minister, who led the Rwandan delegation, that included the Minister of Foreign Affairs Louise Mushikiwabo, to the two-day summit, said there was need for the AU to act quickly to help stop the continued unnecessary loss of life in the North African country.
Rwanda’s experience of abandonment and Genocide largely informs that stand.
“First, Rwanda believes that when a leader engages in mass killing his own people, the matter ceases to be domestic and calls for the entire humanity to act; that’s what justifies the involvement of the African Union, the United Nations, other regional bodies and individual countries,” the Prime Minister said.
“Secondly, though Rwanda strongly rejects foreign powers’ interference in African affairs-- a move that tends to benefit the former more rather than the latter, and leaves a bad taste of colonial and occupational history; it cannot in any way be an excuse for the protector of a people to become their predator.”
Due to the above reasons, Rwanda supports the Libyan peoples’ quest for freedom to shape their own destiny as well as the necessity to put in place a political process that will see a credible democratization process in Libya; and it is difficult to see how that process could advance with Gaddafi,To the larger issue of security and stability, which were the trigger and the main agenda for the extraordinary Summit, Rwanda proposed a combination of candid analysis of economic and governance issues, and the involvement of all citizens in the search for, and subsequent implementation of solutions.
“If we do not address the fundamental cause of these crises, we stand a huge risk of watching Africa go back to a conflict-prone continent again,” the Prime Minister said.
Rwanda’s constant message within the African Union is that members should debate openly, but always speak with one voice to oppose injustice and increase the prospect for hope for the benefit of the people of Africa, in order for the continent to achieve sustainable peace and prosperity.