AU Peace, Security Council gets new members

Addis Ababa , Ethiopia (PANA) - At an election conducted during the ministerial level of the African Union Summit here, Angola, Egypt, Guinea, Cameroon, Cote d’ Ivoire and Congo Republic were Saturday elected to the executive body tasked with spearheading peace and security matters in Africa.

Rivals Ethiopia and Eritrea, which also put up their candidatures for election to the Peace and Security Council (PSC) failed to win slots, losing the vote to their more docile neighbor, Djibouti.

Tanzania was also elected to the PSC for a two-year term, alongside Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire and Gambia, representing West Africa. Lesotho and Angola will represent the Southern Africa region at the Council, while Egypt was elected as the sole representative of the North African region.

The PSC has become a powerful weapon within the AU, which is partly highlighted by the overwhelming interest it drew from most of the countries involved.

Uganda, which has served on the Council before and chaired a session that slapped sanctions and suspended Madagascar from the AU membership, made a second pitch for re-election.

The 10 new members will join five other members on a three-year term at the helm of the continental body, which has quickly gained confidence as the most effectively run and functional organ of the AU, often blamed as being indecisive in the face of major conflicts.

Cote d’Ivoire and Djibouti, which have served at the Council for the past two years, were re-elected following the pending expiry of their term, an AU statement announcing the outcome said.

Cote d’Ivoire, which slipped back into a deadly civil conflict and was suspended after the former President Laurent Gbagbo declined to handover power to his rival, Alassane Ouattara, was repeatedly forced to stay outside the negotiating tables when it was the subject of its discussions.

The new members will replace Burundi, Chad, Mali, Namibia and Rwanda in April 2012.

Libya, Equatorial Guinea, Kenya, Nigeria and Zimbabwe are currently serving in the Council for three-year terms.

PSC terms are staggered to allow certain members with experience in running its operations to stay on much longer, as they continue with their diplomatic engagements with the rest of the world.

The Council has developed relations with more established Councils, including the UN Security Council and the European Permanent Committee on Security, with which it holds regular sessions to discuss the status of peace and security in Africa.

PSC’s recommendations have in recent time formed the foundation of action on most African conflicts since its creation, but its effectiveness has at times been affected by regional power interests, which determines how effectively it moves on any given conflict, experts say.

The African leaders, meeting here 29-30 Jan, will endorse the newly-elected delegates.

The elections took place as a mini-Summit of the West African bloc, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), settled for Benin's President Yayi Boni as the incoming AU Chairman.

The decision was reached after Benin strongly objected to Nigeria's last-minute candidacy for the post and was endorsed for the seat with the aid of Ghanaian leader John Atta Mills, sources at the meeting said late Saturday.

The new AU Chairman will take over Sunday.
-0- PANA AO/VAO 29Jan2012

29 january 2012 08:18:42




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