7th Annual Joint Consultative Meeting between the African Union Peace and Security Council and the European Union Political and Security Committee, Brussels, 15 May 2014
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, May 16, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- On 15 May 2014, the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) and the European Union Political and Security Committee (EU PSC) held their 7th Annual Joint Consultative Meeting in Brussels, as part of their regular dialogue in the framework of the Africa-EU partnership. The meeting was co-chaired by Ambassador Naimi S. H. Aziz (Tanzania), Chairperson of the AU PSC for the month of May 2014, and Ambassador Walter Stevens, Permanent Chair of the EU PSC, and brought together Ambassadors of all 28 EU Member States and 15 AUPSC Member States. Ambassador Smail Chergui, AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, Nick Westcott, Managing Director for Africa at the EEAS and Ambassador Gary Quince, EU Special Representative to the African Union also participated in the joint meeting.
The meeting took place just weeks after the EU-Africa Summit that was held in Brussels, on 2-3 April 2014. The 7th Annual Joint Consultative Meeting welcomed the renewed commitment of EU and African leaders made at the recent EU-Africa Summit to enhance cooperation between both continents in the area of peace and security. Both sides underscored their determination to further deepen the existing partnership that aims at promoting peace and security and at preventing crises and violent conflicts on both continents.
The discussions of the meeting focussed on cooperation to tackle the ongoing crises in South Sudan, the Horn of Africa, the Central African Republic, and the Sahel, as well as terrorism, human and drug trafficking, small arms and light weapons, Ukraine. The discussion also dwelt on cooperation as well as means and ways to strengthen African capacities in the area of peace and security.
1. On cooperation in the area of Peace and Security
The EU PSC and AU PSC made explicit reference to the recent EU-Africa Summit that underlined both sides' commitment to peace and security and to their common values and goals in pursuit of good governance, democracy, human rights and rule of law. They recognized the important results achieved so far, in particular in the context of African-led peacekeeping operations and by missions and operations deployed in Africa by the European Union. They welcomed the commitment, as expressed by African and European leaders at the summit, to further enhance and consolidate cooperation in the area of peace and security, including areas such as security sector reform, border management, peace building and post-conflict reconstruction and development. Both sides also underlined the need to address the root causes of conflict and the security-development nexus.
Recalling the recent EU- Africa Summit conclusions committing both organisations to enhance dialogue, to implement common approaches and to strengthen coordination between both PSCs, both sides agreed to increase the number of contacts, beyond current agreed PSC to PSC meetings. They also agreed to undertake a joint field mission as soon as possible, which will allow for an assessment of joint action and the coordination of efforts on the ground.
The EU PSC and AU PSC condemned terrorism in all its forms. They condemned in the strongest terms the abhorrent and cowardly acts of terrorism in Nigeria involving the abduction of more than 200 school girls. Both, the EU PSC and the AU PSC pledged full support to the Government of Nigeria in their efforts to combat terrorism and to secure the safe return of the school girls. They emphasized the need for greater regional and international cooperation to dismantle Boko Haram and its affiliates, as well as its sources of funding. They supported the intention of the UN Security Council to take appropriate measures. Both sides underscored the importance of protecting human rights, particularly in conflict situations. They also condemned sexual violence against women and the use of child soldiers.
Both parties recognised the urgent need to tackle the serious problem of organised transnational crime involving illicit trafficking and smuggling in human beings, drugs and weapons. In this regard, they recalled the conclusions of the Brussels Summit and the stand alone Declaration on Migration and Mobility and committed to cooperate closely in implementing the Action Plan that was agreed.
They also emphasised the importance of cooperating in tackling other threats to peace and security such as proliferation of small arms and light weapons (SALW). In this regard, they underscored their shared interest in combatting them. They also stressed the need for greater intelligence sharing.
2. On specific crises and country situations
South Sudan: The EU PSC and the AU PSC expressed great concern at the recent escalation of violence in the country and stressed the need to put an immediate end to the violence which has resulted in a serious humanitarian disaster. They agreed on the need to take necessary steps to encourage the leaders of South Sudan take action and they welcomed the recent meeting of President Kiir and Riek Machar under IGAD auspices aiming to find a way to de-escalate the crisis. In this regard they welcomed the 9May 2014 agreement reached in Addis Ababa under the auspices of IGAD Chairperson and urge the parties to fully implement all agreement that have been signed so far. They further commended IGAD for facilitating political dialogue aimed at finding a lasting solution and reiterate support of both organs to ensure the success of these efforts. Both PSCs urged swift deployment of the planned IGAD protection force and a revision of the mandate of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) in order to protect civilians and monitor an effective ceasefire. They also urged the need to restore security in order to create space for a political solution. They condemned the human rights violations and called for investigation of those violations. In this context, both PSCs welcomed the visit of the AU Commission of Inquiry to South Sudan (and encouraged a close cooperation with UN bodies). They also underscored the need to strengthen humanitarian responses in favour of affected populations.
Horn of Africa: The members of the EU PSC and the AU PSC commended the AU and IGAD joint efforts in the Horn of Africa, supported by the international community. They underlined the crucial role of the AU High Level Implementation Panel and AU PSC on Sudan and South Sudan. They highlighted the need for a comprehensive approach in order to resolve the continuing armed conflicts, including through reconciliation and democratic processes in Sudan in the framework of the National Dialogue. They commended the crucial role of AMISOM in the efforts to restore stability in Somalia and ensure continued security in Mogadishu and the role of EU missions, in particular EUTM Somalia, EUCAP Nestor and EUNAVFOR Atalanta. Both sides reiterated their continued support to the Federal Government of Somalia in the implementation of its Roadmap leading to the successful organisation of elections that are scheduled for 2016. Both sides agreed on the need for coordinating efforts aimed at building the capacity of the Somali National Defence and Security Forces and a successful security sector reform in that country.
Central African Republic: The EU PSC and AU PSC expressed strong concern over the situation in the Central African Republic. They strongly condemned recent attacks of civilians in northern CAR by armed militia and groups that led to loss of human lives, including humanitarian workers. They called for an immediate cessation of violence and urged all armed groups to respect international humanitarian law and to respect civilians and humanitarian aid workers. Both sides called on the transitional authorities of CAR to continue the transition process, promoting political dialogue and national reconciliation, accountability for human rights violations until the elections scheduled to take place by February 2015. They also called for close coordination of efforts between the EU Mission to the Central African Republic (EUFOR RCA) and MISCA. They also underlined the serious humanitarian consequences and called for support from the international community in this regard.
Both PSCs commended international engagement to stabilize the situation in the CAR, in particular AU efforts, through MISCA's positive role in restoring a safe and secure environment and EU's strong commitment, notably through financial support to MISCA and through the recent deployment of EUFOR RCA in Bangui. Both sides agreed to pursue close coordination with the UN in view of the establishment of MINUSCA by 15 September 2014, which should allow an effective transfer of MISCA troops into a UN peacekeeping operation. They highlighted the importance of international support to the new transitional authorities in CAR and encouraged them to finalise the revision of the transition Roadmap. Both sides welcomed dialogue and mediation activities to achieve a return to peace and stability. They recognized the essential role of the International Contact Group on CAR (ICG-CAR) in closely following up the situation in the country.
Sahel: Both sides recognised their shared interest in ensuring that terrorism is eliminated from the Sahel and they reiterated their commitment to help restore conditions for security and sustainable development. They underlined that international support to the Sahel region needs to be accompanied by sustained efforts to find a lasting solution to address the roots causes of the ongoing crises in the north of Mali and the wider region. They also underscored the importance of tackling all dimensions of drug trafficking, including source, transit and markets. They also underlined the growing challenges of migration and stressed the need to adequately address these challenges, including through capacity-building for border management. In this context, both PSCs commended EU engagement in the region through the capacity building missions EU Training Mission in Mali (EUTM Mali) and EUCAP Sahel Niger, and the recently launched EUCAP Sahel Mali. They agreed to work on the implementation of specific actions in the field of border areas management in order to tackle the causes of instability in the Sahel. In that perspective and regarding the situation in Mali, EU PSC and the AU PSC strongly urged all Malian parties to begin credible and inclusive consultations open to all communities and to all non-terrorist armed groups of the north of Mali with the aim of achieving lasting peace. They underscored the importance of international coordination to ensure efficiency and mutual accountability, including greater support for the UN Mission and the AU Mission in the Sahel. In this respect, they also stressed the need for coordination, including with the G-5, in the implementation of the respective (EU and AU) strategies.
Gulf of Guinea: Both sides welcomed the adoption of a European Strategy for the Gulf of Guinea in support of the efforts of the countries of the region and the region itself reflecting the EU's comprehensive approach and look forward to continue the dialogue on those issues. The two sides commend the efforts of the countries of the region and ECCAS/ECOWAS, following the Summit held in Yaoundé in 2013, whose conclusions were endorsed by the PSC at its 387th meeting held on 29 July 2013. They also underscored the need to accelerate the implementation of the African Integrated Maritime Strategy (AIMS).
Ukraine: Both PSCs were briefed on the latest developments in and around Ukraine. In this regard, both sides recalled the Declaration of the 4th EU – Africa Summit of 2-3 April 2014 of the Heads of State and Government reaffirming their commitment to peace and security on both our continents in conformity with the aims and principles of the United Nations Charter.
3. On enhancing African capacities in peace and security issues
Regarding capacity-building, the AU PSC and the EU PSC referred to the conclusions of the EU-Africa Summit that committed to enhanced dialogue and coordination between both continents in the area of peace and security and to further improve African capacities. In particular, the EU PSC and AU PSC confirmed their respective commitments to fully implement the African Peace and Security Architecture and to operationalize the African Standby Force (ASF) and its Rapid Deployment Capability (RDC). In this context, the European commitment to support these efforts, including through its approach to "enhance and enable", was welcomed by the members of the AU PSC. The EUPSC and AU PSC recognised the African Capacity for Immediate Responses to Crises (ACIRC) as an interim measure within the framework of fully operationalizing the ASF and its RDC, as well as a tool to reinforce its Continental Early Warning System.
The meeting also welcomed the expressed intention by the EU to allocate increased funding to the African Peace Facility and to also allocate funds to other peace and security related aspects under other relevant instruments. It was agreed to discuss ways of enhancing the consultative process to prepare operations under these and other available instruments and to ensure proper coordination, coherence and efficiency of the capacity building activities to be conducted in the coming years. Both sides stressed the need for close cooperation with the United Nations and its agencies, with the relevant regional and sub-regional organisations, and with other international coordination mechanisms.
In line with the EU-Africa Summit Roadmap, both sides also agreed on the need to encourage the mobilization of additional African and international resources in order to improve the predictability and financial sustainability of African peace and security activities, notably African Peace Support Operations, and stressed the need to identify alternative sources of more funding.
The two organs agreed to hold their 8th Annual Joint Consultative meeting in Addis Ababa in May 2015, the date of which will be fixed through consultation between the two sides through their respective Chairs.