AU conflict panel warns poverty fuelling separatism wave

Sharm El Sheikh- Egypt (PANA) -- Africa is at risk of more border and poverty-ignited conflicts which will require the African Union (AU) to take urgent steps to save the continent from an escalation, an expert body of the organization has warned.
The Peace and Security Council (PSC) has warned in its report to be presented on Sunday at the AU Summit in Sharm El Sheikh that poverty and deprivation, blamed for the latest conflicts in the archipelago of Comoros and Kenya, are standing in the way for a conflict-free continent.
"Significant progress has been made since the last Assembly as shown by the developments in Burundi, the peace process in Côte d'Ivoire and the re-establishment of authority in the Comorian state of Anjouan," the PSC said in its report.
However, the continental peace and security watchdog, seeking mergers with more powerful institutions across the world, also warned that peace efforts in certain parts of the continent remained deadlocked.
The report, which is due for close scrutiny at a high level segment of the African Union Heads of State Assembly, also warns that even though progress in resolving conflicts was achieved this year, potential for new and open conflicts still remain.
"New tensions have emerged, which if care is not taken, could degenerate into open conflict," the report compiled by the continent's 15-country member peace and security body said.
The report offers a fresh twist to discussions over the formation of a grand government for Africa, which is also slated as a point of discussion during the Summit, which convenes in Sharm El Sheikh 30 June-1 July, to prioritise anti-poverty initiatives.
According to Nobel Peace laureate Wangari Maathai, efforts to establish the grand government of Africa, though absolutely necessary, cannot be realized until the rest of the continent is psyched to reason as Africans, not as members of ethnic groups.
"We have not come out of our own tribalism fears.
The leaders are dividing their countries and telling those who are not their tribesmen that their lives are in danger unless they support a tribal position, we need to reason as Africans first," she told PANA.
In the analysis of the Security Council, the recent attempts to seize power in Anjouan were mainly promoted by the poverty and poor governance on the ground.
It said economic recovery and a sustained war against poverty were important for the citizenry of the semi-autonomous island of Anjouan to enjoy peace.

29 june 2008 10:08:00




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