Africa should not change into ‘geostrategic battleground’ warns AU

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The continent of 1.3 billion individuals has discovered itself on the centre of a tussle for affect among the many main powers, which has redoubled since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine 15 months in the past.

And simply because the AU marked the anniversary of the creation of its forerunner, the Organisation of African Unity, on this present day in 1963, Ukraine itself introduced it needed to spice up ties with Africa.

“On this worldwide context of confrontation of divergent political pursuits, the desire of every aspect threatens to rework Africa right into a geostrategic battleground, thereby creating a brand new Chilly Struggle,” AU Fee chair Moussa Faki Mahamat mentioned.

“On this zero-sum recreation, the place the features of others would translate into losses for Africa, we should resist all types of instrumentalisation of our member states,” he added in an tackle at AU headquarters within the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

Moscow is in search of deeper political, financial and navy ties in Africa in addition to Asia as Russia turns into more and more remoted on the worldwide stage over the battle in Ukraine.

‘Capability for resilience’

Ukraine’s International Minister Dmytro Kuleba, who’s at the moment on a tour of Africa, on Wednesday urged sure African nations to finish their “neutrality” over the struggle.

In February, 22 AU member states abstained or didn’t vote on a UN Common Meeting decision that known as for Russia withdraw from Ukraine.

Two of them – Eritrea and Mali – voted towards the decision.

And in a press release to mark the pan-African physique’s anniversary, Kuleba additionally introduced a Ukrainian diplomatic push on the continent.

“We wish to develop a brand new high quality of partnership primarily based on three mutual ideas: mutual respect, mutual pursuits, and mutual advantages,” he mentioned, saying plans to determine new embassies in Africa and maintain a Ukraine-Africa summit.

On this zero-sum recreation, the place the features of others would translate into losses for Africa, we should resist all types of instrumentalisation of our member states.

Moscow itself has scheduled a Russia-Africa summit in July, following a visit to a number of African nations at the beginning of the yr by International Minister Sergei Lavrov.

China and the US have additionally despatched their overseas ministers to the continent in rival diplomatic offensives this yr.

Beijing has funded main infrastructure improvement in Africa however denies Western prices it’s practising “debt-trap diplomacy”, whereas Russia is a key arms exporter and is making forays by way of mining initiatives, analysts say.

‘Conflicts and terrorism persist’

Faki in the meantime additionally hailed the successes of the 54-nation AU which succeeded the OAU in 2002: “Independence and victory towards apartheid, that of great financial and scientific progress, sports activities, arts, the rising worldwide function of Africa and so forth.”

Nevertheless, he additionally acknowledged “detrimental components equivalent to democratic decline by way of unconstitutional adjustments of presidency, with their litany of oppression and gagging of freedoms, insecurity, the unfold of terrorism, violent extremism, the uncontrolled circulation of arms, the dangerous results of local weather change”.

Regardless of the difficulties, Faki mentioned, Africa stays “characterised by its larger capability for resilience”, pointing for instance to its response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The present head of the African Union, Comoros President Azali Assoumani additionally denounced “the unconstitutional adjustments of energy” which have multiplied in Africa in recent times.

“Inter and intra-African conflicts but additionally terrorism persists and consequently the peace, safety, democracy and improvement of our continent are threatened in a number of of our nations,” he mentioned.

Assoumani spoke of the battle between rival generals in Sudan which erupted in mid-April and has continued regardless of a number of truce agreements.

“We should persuade our brothers in Sudan to favour dialogue in order that the fratricidal struggle raging on this nation ends,” he added.

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