The 33rd African Union meeting is currently being held under the topic "Silencing the Guns: Creating conducive conditions for Africa's development."
African presidents and government officials from all over Africa met Sunday in Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, for a two-day summit centered on how to end violence in the region, specifically in South Sudan and Libya.
The African Union (AU) gathering is being held under the topic "Silencing the Guns: Creating conducive conditions for Africa's development."
"We will focus our efforts on conflict resolution across the African continent, especially those experiencing protracted conflict," said South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is taking over from Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi as AU chair.
Ramaphosa met separately South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar Saturday night, in a bid to mediate talks between the two men, whose feud led South Sudan in a disastrous war, resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths and millions of people fleeing their homes.
Although Kiir and Machar have already missed two dates to work out their differences, they pledged last December to form a power-sharing government by Feb. 22.
Regarding the situation in war-torn Libya, the AU has consistently been calling to be more involved in the peace negotiations led primarily by the United Nations (U.N.).
U.N.’s Secretary-General Antonio Guterres who is taking part in the summit described the partnership between his organization and the AU as "of paramount importance," stressing the international body's support for the AU's "landmark initiative" of “silencing guns.”
"Ultimately, Silencing the Guns is not just about peace and security, but also inclusive sustainable development and human rights," he said, highlighting the three most urgent challenges facing Africa are the eradication of poverty, the climate crisis and the end of violence.
In the meantime, the chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki warned that "the persistence of terrorism threatens the collapse of some member states and must be eradicated."
The summit also comes amid a quarrel involving Egypt and Sudan on one side and Ethiopia on the other over a dam built by the latter on the Blue Nile. After several meetings in the United States, the three states announced a final agreement will be signed at the end of this month.