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Crises in Sudan and Libya: What role can the African Union play?

27.04.2019
Article from AFRIC Editorial
Can the African Union provide adequate solutions to the crises in Sudan and Libya? By succeeding Paul Kagame as head of the continental body, Marshal Abdel Fatah Al Sissi had focused his presidency on peacekeeping, security and post-conflict reconstruction, thus adhering to the goal of the African Union’s “Silence the Guns on the continent by 2020”. The stagnation of violence in Libya and the popular uprising in Sudan are new challenges that put the Egyptian President's mandate, who has become an important partner in the fight against terrorism, to the test. The double summit on Insecurity in the World, organized in his country on April 23 had as objective to bring African solutions to the situations that cut across these two countries on the continent.

AU MEANS OF WESTERN INTERVENTION

The chaos in Libya today started in 2011 with the assassination of Muammar Gaddafi following the intervention of NATO forces, is a relevant example of the disaster caused by international interference in Africa. The anarchy that has settled in Libya today is affecting her neighbors. The Egyptian Marshal, who has made the pacification of this country one of the objectives of his foreign policy, would like the African Union to bear its weight in the resolution of this crisis, which is also preoccupying the other side of the Mediterranean.

The Libyan issue is a priority for France, who’s President Emmanuel Macron, has already organized two meeting involving the political actors in the conflict. Italy who is in rivalry with France, claims a colonial past with Libya, also wants to play her own part in the matter. Following the French initiative, Rome organized a summit on the Libyan issue from 12 to 13 November 2018 in Palermo, to reaffirm international support for the UN solution. It was specifically for Italy, who takes a dim view of the French interference in this conflict, to reaffirm her status as a leading European leader and actor on this particular issue. Despite the stand-off between these two European nations over the Libyan conflict, the African Union, which is also very involved in the peaceful resolution of the conflict, is working to achieve reconciliation among the Libyan brothers by collaborating with the UN.

CRISES IN SUDAN AND LIBYA: AU SOLUTIONS

While messages of support for Sudanese protesters are increasing and foreign powers are busy resolving the crisis in Libya, six African presidents have made the trip to Cairo to take part in the Egyptian head of state’s emergency summit devoted to Libya, but also aimed at putting Sudan in order. They are Presidents Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Idriss Deby Itno of Chad, Denis Sassou Nguesso of Congo, Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, Ismaïl Omar Guelleh of Djibouti and Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed of Somalia. Officials from Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, Ethiopia and South Sudan also attended the meeting. The panel of African Heads of State gave the protesters and the military power three months to reach a “peaceful transition” recommending at the same time to the AU Peace and Security Council to take into account this delay, he who gave an ultimatum of fifteen days to the Sudanese army to leave the power and give it to a civilian authority.

Recalling that this summit is a historic turning point at a decisive moment that requires the solidarity of all African brothers, the Egyptian president urged the international community to rather help Sudan face its economic challenges. For him, the part concerning the political resolution of the crisis should be managed by the Africans themselves.

The various countries that took part in this high-level meeting recommended the Chair of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, should continue negotiations in Sudan until a peaceful resolution of this crisis is reached. In his mission, the Chadian diplomat will be able to benefit from the support of the foreign ministers of the countries present at this meeting. In his final statement, the Egyptian president who chaired the meeting, stressed that “The ultimate goal of the mission will be the organization of a democratic election that will see all Sudanese political forces. The solution will come from the Sudanese themselves.”

The meeting dedicated to Libya, which took place a few hours after the one devoted to Sudan was aimed at finding ways to put an end to the crisis in that country, to revive the political process and to proceed to the eradication of terrorism. This meeting saw the participation of the Egyptian Head of State who was accompanied by his counterparts from Rwanda, South Africa and Congo, in this case Chair of the Libya AU Commission.

The African presidents present in Cairo called for an “immediate and unconditional halt” in the fighting in this country, where violent clashes break out in Tripoli against the troops of Marshal Haftar, the strong man of eastern Libya, who enjoys the support of Egypt to those of the Government of National Unity, recognized by the international community. The African Union, which is concerned about the situation of civilians, many of whom were killed in the violence, called for restraint on both sides and called for the fighters to allow “the arrival of Humanitarian aid”

Long regarded as a useless institution unable to make itself heard in the conflict resolution across the continent, the African Union which has deicide to get rid of this unflattering image now takes the bull by the horns. Involved in The Gambia after Yahya Jammeh’s refusal to leave power and in CAR where she allowed the signing of a peace agreement between the government and the armed groups, it is now in Libya and Sudan that she wants to do triumphing solidarity and African wisdom damning the pawn to foreign powers whose involvement in the affairs of the continent has often led to chaos and desolation.

Article from AFRIC Editorial

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