US reaches out for comprehensive approach to counter terrorism

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) - US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat on Friday met to discuss issues of mutual concern, among them, ending the terrorism threats in Somalia, the crisis in South Sudan and the stalemate in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

According to AU and US officials, the two leaders reiterated the need for an end to the political crises in Eastern and Central Africa, which are top on the agenda of the US diplomat on his first official visit to the continent.

Mahamat hosted Tillerson at the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa, where both sides reaffirmed their strong commitment to the shared goal of a stable and prosperous Africa.  

"Their conversation today builds upon their previous meeting in November on the margins of the annual U.S.-AU High Level Dialogue in Washington D.C.," the AU and the US said in a joint statement released on Friday.

The United States was the first country to establish a mission uniquely dedicated to the AU in 2006.  

During their meeting, Faki and Tillerson reinforced their commitment to common priorities.  

The AU has made significant progress on its institutional reform process and on regional integration, including the planned signing of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, and the launch of the Single African Air Transport Market.  

The United States applauds the work of the AU’s Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), which has successfully tracked and responded to disease outbreaks on the continent.

The AU has named 2018 as the year of “Winning the Fight against Corruption,” and the United States supports the AU’s fight against all forms of corruption to improve the conditions for free and fair trade and enable the environment for business and good governance.

Meeting against the backdrop of International Women’s Day, the AU and the United States wish to join their efforts to those who decry gender-based corruption, inequality of opportunity, harassment, and gender-based violence.

Economic engagement between the United States and the AU is extensive and builds on existing U.S. programmes such as Trade Africa, Power Africa, the African Growth and Opportunity Act, and Feed the Future.  

Opportunities for greater collaboration include joint trade facilitation workshops, and supporting greater agricultural trade between the United States and Africa, including by harmonizing agricultural standards and building on ongoing food safety standards efforts through the AU-led Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa.

The AU’s ongoing efforts to enhance its legal framework through the early entry into force of its Convention on Cybersecurity and Personal Data Protection will establish a sound basis for collaboration on efforts to develop cybersecurity capacities to protect Africa’s citizens.

Peace and security remain a mutual priority.  The February launch of a U.S.-supported unarmed, unmanned aerial surveillance platform to support the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) underscored commitment to the fight against terrorism in Somalia.

The United States recognizes the perseverance and sacrifice of AU soldiers participating in AMISOM and acknowledges the need to ensure predictable and sustainable funding for AMISOM to enable it to achieve its mandate.

The Secretary and the Chairperson agreed that the AU and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) should continue to press the parties in South Sudan for a negotiated solution, to protect the lives and welfare of innocent South Sudanese.  

They reiterated their commitment to punitive measures, as necessary, firmly grounded in IGAD and AU Peace and Security Council decisions, on those who hinder the peace process to demonstrate the united resolve of international partners and the African continent to effect peace in South Sudan.

The United States and the AU believe it is imperative that all parties in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) – including the Government of the DRC and the political opposition – work towards free, fair, and transparent elections in December 2018.

In the wake of recent attacks in Ouagadougou, Faki and Tillerson also exchanged views on the situation in the Sahel.

They applauded the G5 countries for their efforts; and the AU welcomed additional U.S. support to G5 countries.

The U.S. underscored strongly its concerns with DPRK development of weapons of mass destruction. The AU and United States reiterated commitment to non-proliferation and called for strict adherence to U.N. Security Council resolutions.  

Faki and Tillerson committed to enhance the United States’ and AU’s strategic relationship at the sixth High Level Dialogue this year in Addis Ababa.  U.S.-AU Technical Working Groups will lay the groundwork for that exchange.

-0- PANA AO/AR 9March2018

09 march 2018 19:05:07

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