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Envoys’ session kick-starts African Union summit in Ethiopia

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AU Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat (AU Photo)

By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

June 27, 2017 (ADDIS ABABA) - The 29th ordinary session of the African Union (AU) summit commenced in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa on Tuesday.

The pan-African summit to be held from 27 June to 4 July, is under the theme, "Harnessing the demographic dividend through investment in youth".

The summit officially opened Tuesday at the continental bloc’s headquarters with an ordinary session of the Africa Union Permanent Representative Committee (PRC).

The PRC, will during the two-day session, prepare the agenda for the AU summit with appropriate recommendations for considerations by the executive council whose session is scheduled to be held from 30 June to 1 July, followed by the AU head of state and governments session.

The PRC’s draft agenda will then be submitted to the executive council for adoption.

According to AU, the PRC meeting has brought together all ambassadors from the 55 AU member states based in Addis Ababa, key AU officials and other dignitaries.

Tuesday’s session began with discussions on Africa’s peace, security and migration. Also set to be discussed are AU reforms and ways how the continental body finances its own, continental integration, infrastructure and trade, among other key issues.

The main event, the heads of states and governments of the African Union will be held in the last two days from 3 July to July 4, 2017.

Member states will mainly deliberate on the continent’s peace and security, with the renewed fighting in South Sudan, situation in Somalia and crises in Libya among the issues top on agenda for African leaders to be deliberated upon during the summit.

Also top of the agenda for discussions at the summit are situations in Central African Republic, Mali, Democratic Republic Congo (DRC), Burundi and the Darfur region.

The AU Commission chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat said the one-week summit comes at a time when the continent faces multiple peace and security challenges.

He stressed a need of exerting concerted efforts from AU member States to end political crises and conflicts in parts of Africa. Mahamat further underscored a need for African countries to take coherence actions and commitment to battle active terrorism and extremism which he said is affecting all regions of the continent.

The previous summit held in Addis Ababa last January witnessed the return of Morocco to AU after over three decades of absence from the pan-African body.

(ST)

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