SA counting on experience to address African conflicts


South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa.

JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa has conceded to the formidable task South Africa faces in addressing conflicts facing numerous countries in the continent.

He however places his hope on the country’s experience in some successful peacekeeping and peace building efforts since attaining self-rule.

President Ramaphosa wrote upon his return from the 36th Ordinary Session of the African Union (AU) Assembly of Heads and State and Government held in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

South Africa is the chair of the AU’s Peace and Security Council for this month of February.

One of the meetings South Africa convened and chaired in Addis Ababa was on the security situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Ramaphosa expressed concern the conflict shows no signs of abating, with the latest cycle of violence being fueled by the resurgence of the M23, the armed group that was thought to have been dismantled in 2013.

“We cannot but be moved by the dire humanitarian situation in the DRC and horrified by the scale of violence unleashed on civilian populations, particularly on women and girls,” the president noted.

He however expressed hope in South Africa’s experience in actively engaging in peace-building efforts in the DRC before.

South Africa is also[providing troops for the United Nations (UN) Mission Force Intervention Brigade in the DRC.

“To stop this conflict, we need to address the root causes of the conflict, among them the illegal exploitation of mineral resources and competition between countries in the Great Lakes region,” Ramaphosa proposed.

South Africa has called for the resumption of dialogue, de-escalation of tensions between warring parties and the withdrawal of all foreign armed groups.

Ramaphosa also noted the unconstitutional changes of government in Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso and Sudan. All these member states remain suspended from the AU.

There is also the involvement of foreign fighters, armed groups and mercenaries in African conflicts, as well as the rise of terrorism and violent extremism in Somalia, the Sahel region and northern Mozambique, which also pose serious threats to the continent’s stability.

Ramaphosa reminded that since the advent of democracy in 1994, South Africa has played an active role in UN and AU efforts in Burundi, Ethiopia-Eritrea, Liberia and Darfur.

His country is the 15th largest contributor of uniformed personnel among UN member states, and is the sixth largest contributor of women peacekeepers.

“We remain committed to use our experience of negotiation, political dialogue and peacemaking to support people elsewhere on the continent in the grip of conflict and in the throes of transition,” Ramaphosa stated.

– CAJ News











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