Nigeria's President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, on Thursday called for urgent action to strengthen existing African Union (AU) mechanisms for the promotion of peace, security and political stability in Africa.
Delivering Nigeria's position on Peace and Security in Africa at the 22nd Summit of African Union Heads of State and Government which opened in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, President Jonathan said that while the recent crises in South Sudan and the Central African Republic (CAR) had reinforced the urgency of establishing the proposed African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises (ACIRC), instruments within the current African Peace and security Architecture must, in the interim, be activated to prevent the degeneration of conflicts into warfare.
He said: “Although we have agreed on the establishment of the ACIRC as an interim arrangement, pending the operationalization of the African Standby Force by 2015, it must be said that the present situation provides us the opportunity to review the existing mechanisms for conflict prevention in order to make them very effective.
“Mechanisms such as the Continental Early Warning System, the Panel of the Wise and the Military Staff Committee have not been adequately utilized to achieve the objectives for which they were established. It is important to note that their timely intervention in situations of emerging conflict, will contribute in preventing conflagration.
'The reconstitution of the Panel of the Wise provides us the opportunity to re-energise the body with men and women of cognate experience in peace-building and mediation.
“We should not allow the recent economic gains that Africa is making to be frittered away. As we articulate our Agenda 2063, the entrenchment of sustainable peace and security should be a major preoccupation if we are to achieve the Africa of our dream and be able to bequeath to future generations an Africa that is peaceful, buoyant, strong and a leading player in world affairs,” President Jonathan said.
The President told the gathering that in furtherance of its commitment to the promotion of peace and security in Africa, Nigeria will host an International Conference on Peace and Security in Abuja as part of its Centenary Celebrations on 27 February, 2014.
“The Summit will provide the opportunity for discussing the present critical issue of insecurity in our continent and proffer practical ideas and approaches for confronting it. I have already extended invitations to you, Your Excellencies and I look forward to receiving you in Abuja,” he told the gathering of African Heads of State and Government.