Sunday, August 1, 2010

East Africa: Comesa Calls for Proposals to End Conflicts

THE Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) has urged member States to propose ways in which to address conflicts in Africa.

Speaking in Lusaka yesterday during the COMESA 10th meeting on peace and security, COMESA Assistant Secretary General Nagla El-Hussainy said most of the conflicts on the continent had been resolved through the mediation of African States.

Ms El-Hussainy said there was hope that the conflicts that were still active on the continent could be resolved through concerted efforts.

The African Union (AU) had laid out provisions to intervene in internal conflicts of member states, thus over-riding the principle of sovereignty and non-interference.

"Implementing a customs union will most certainly require higher levels of inter-dependence and a better climate for investment, which can only be optimised in a secure environment, that is free from conflict," she said.

Ms El-Hussainy said lasting solutions should be found to the insurgence in Uganda by the Lord's Resistance Army, apart from addressing conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Darfur in Sudan.

The increasing impact of globalisation had brought with it challenges such as the climate change and the global crunch, that had direct linkage to resurgences of conflict.

She emphasised the need for unity in the region in addressing the external global challenges, and said the challenges could not be effectively resolved if members States were weakened by unresolved internal conflicts.

Ms El-Hussainy said the COMESA 10th meeting on peace and security would produce a report on the status of the peace and security situation in the region, and that it would also give a detailed analysis on some of the areas that had been experiencing conflict.

COMESA was developing a medium term strategic plan that would guide member states' strategic focus for the next five years beginning January 2011.

In a vote of thanks, Swaziland Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Sethabile Mdluli urged COMESA to accelerate the problem warning system to avoid the recent attacks experienced in Uganda.

30 July 2010 - The Times of Zambia