AU elects new Security Council members

Addis Ababa- Ethiopia (PANA) -- The African Union (AU) has elected Algeria, Angola, Ethiopia, Gabon and Nigeria as the new members of its Peace and Security Council, with a strong mandate to bolster efforts to stem conflicts and shore up reconciliation.
The new members were elected at a special meeting of the Executive Council, comprising foreign ministers from the continent's 53 members, after a rigorous selection and verification process, which ran deep into Saturday night.
The new members would serve the continent for three years and could be eligible for a fresh mandate when their term expires.
They were all new members except Angola, whose term was renewed for another three years.
The AU's Peace and Security Council membership election is based on a set of tough evaluation rules, including a requirement that the aspiring member state must have fully-equipped and adequately staffed Permanent Missions in Addis Ababa and New York.
"These new members would represent their respective regions.
They are all new members to the PSC," an AU Commission spokesperson told PANA Sunday.
Angola was elected to represent the Southern Africa region while Algeria will represent the Northern Africa region.
Gabon is representing Central Africa while Nigeria will represent the West Africa region.
Ethiopia now represents the Eastern Africa region.
The PSC is the organ of the AU tasked with ensuring the continent is shielded from conflicts.
Its mandate is to ensure that potential "theatres of conflicts" are forestalled before they develop into full-scale wars.
According to the 2004 treaty setting up the PSC, 10 of its 15 members are elected for two years and five get elected for three years with a mandate to ensure the continent adopts a defence strategy.
AU Commission Chairperson Alpha Konare told the Executive Council that it must get involved in the resolution of conflicts, reiterating that the AU's policy of non-indifference had created stability and pride to the organisation.
He said the Peace and Security Council must strive always to ensure "theatres of conflicts" no longer exist on the continent.
The African civil society representatives attending the Summit welcomed the new appointees, saying countries like Nigeria had shown a strong track-record in finding solutions to the conflicts in Africa, especially in Sudan's western Darfur region.
"Oxfam welcomes the election of the new PSC members and calls on them to act with urgency to ensure protection of civilians in Darfur," said Houghton Irungu, the Pan African Policy Advisor for the British development group, Oxfam.
"The new members represent troop providing countries and also countries that have sought to bring the conflict to an end," he noted.

28 january 2007 10:18:00

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