By Lehana Tsotetsi
JOHANNESBURG, June 10 — Implementing any peace agreement and ceasefire is certain to be complicated, especially when it is further fuelled by divisions within the rival groups but the African Union (AU) cites the recent signing of the agreement in Mali as a major development towards establishing stability in conflict-afflicted countries.
“We will have the occasion now to deal with the terrorist dimension …. north of Mali, which is linked to the situation in Libya,” says the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, Smail Chergul, ahead of the 25th Ordinary Summit of AU Heads of State and Government beginning here on Sunday.
However, the AU is concerned about the easy availability of weapons which it blames on criminal networks.
“This kind of criminal network are linked with terrorism, drug traffickers and human traffickers in fact it’s one that we should deal with comprehensively. It’s one of the issues fuelling these conflicts,” said Chergul here Tuesday.
On the situation in South Sudan, which has seen thousands of people perish and millions displaced, the AU says it will no longer be business as usual. “The council is ready to take further measures to really deal with the spoilers. It will not be business as usual,” added Smail.
The AU says the recent outbreak of the Ebola virus disease in West Africa caught those countries by surprise. Ebola is a disease that re-occurs, hence it’s critical to improve health facilities, “starting from grassroots level to higher up to people who can afford it”, says AU Commissioner for Social Affairs Dr Sidiki Kaloko.
Lack of such health facilities had seen a number of Heads of State seeking medical help outside their own countries and the is elevating criticism that some of the leaders are not doing enough for their fellow countrymen.