President Jacob Zuma concludes a successful Working Visit to Ethiopia

President Jacob Zuma has returned to South Africa after concluding a successful Working Visit to Addis Ababa, in the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia where he attended the African Union (AU) High Level Committee on Libya meeting to review and discuss the peace and security situation in Libya.

President Zuma has characterised the meeting as very productive and positive, as it discussed and agreed on a number of issues that would help find a lasting solution on challenges facing the people of Libya.

"As the African Union we want to see peace and stability in Libya and the committee agreed that as Africa we need to extensively persuade all involved parties in Libya to find an African solution to the problems facing the country," said President Zuma.

"We have a strong common view that the security situation in Libya requires the AU to be more involved and that no amount of military action will address the current challenges in that country but only political dialogue and cooperation between the affected parties to ensure lasting stability, peace and security in the country and the region," the President added.

President Zuma further said the committee also received a report on the situation in Libya from the AU Envoy to Libya, former President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania and agreed that the AU will work closely with all stakeholders involved in the peace process, to ensure that Libyans are provided a necessary support to find an urgent solution that would end the the current humanitarian, social and security challenges in the country.

The efforts of the AU High-Level Committee in Libya are supplemented by those of other international organisations, in particular the League of Arab States, United Nations and Libya's neighbouring countries who are as affected by the instability in Libya.

The members of the AU High Level Committee of Heads of States and Government on the Situation in Libya comprises of Algeria, Egypt, Mauritania, Niger, South Africa and Uganda as well as the Republic of Congo who was elected as new Chairperson of the High Level Committee.

President Zuma also participated in the Second Extraordinary Summit of the Volunteering Nations of the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises (ACIRC). The aim of this Summit was to discuss the status of the ACIRC Force following the conduct of the UTULIVU AFRICA I and II Command Post Exercises (CPX) and the verification of the pledged capabilities from May 2014 to April 2015.

President Zuma also noted the success of that summit, as leaders of the volunteering countries discussed various issues that would enhance the work of the ACIRC.

"We have agreed that whilst discussions were underway to operationalise the African Standby Force (ASF), it was important that Africa capacitate the ACIRC to ensure that we have a capability to intervene rapidly in situations where there is conflict. Volunteering countries to the ACIRC, which include South Africa, resolved to take a lead in bringing about African solutions for African challenges without the intervention of external forces," the President said.

The ACIRC, which was established in 2013, consists of the following volunteering nations: Algeria, Angola, Benin, Chad, Burkina Faso, Egypt, Mozambique, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.

It was introduced as an interim measure, pending the full operational capability of the African Standby Force (ASF), to provide the AU with a rapid military response capability with the specific objective of preventing emerging genocides, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

President Zuma was accompanied by Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane; Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Ms Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and Minister of State Security, Mr David Mahlobo.

Source: Government of South Africa.

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