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AU Peace and Security Council Retreat Opens in Kigali

AU Peace and Security Council members pose for a group photo. (Photo credit: Embassy of Uganda, Addis Ababa)

The 10th retreat of the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) on Review of Implementation of PSC working methods and decisions adopted since 2007, erectile opened this morning in Kigali, Rwanda and will run from 3-5 May 2017 at the Hotel Mille Collines.

The Peace and Security Council is the standing organ of the AU for the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts. It is a key element of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA), which is the umbrella term for the main AU mechanisms for promoting peace, security and stability in Africa.

The Council was welcomed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Rwanda Ms Louise Mushikibwabo and addressed by Mull Sebujja Katende, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Uganda and Chairperson of the PSC for the Month of May 2017.

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Ms Mushikibwabo called for fruitful deliberations on the role of the PSC in ensuring peace and stability on the continent especially through preventive Diplomacy by utilizing Early Warning Mechanisms, making timely responses and overcoming persistent denial when conflicts are still simmering.

In his remarks, Amb Katende as Chair of the Month of May 2017, said that the retreat, on matters of peace and security, was taking place in that particular hotel was significant, given its horrific history, which like so many other places in Rwanda is now a place of concord and excellent hospitality. He congratulated the Government and peoples of Rwanda for the phenomenal transformation of the country since the despicable events of 1994.

“On its part”, added Katende, “the African Union resolved that “Never and Never Again” for the events of 1994 in Rwanda to be repeated on the African continent. Even more, the Union resolved to rid the continent of all forms of conflict by, among other things, establishing the Peace and Security Council”.

He said that in the course of its existence and discharge of its mandate, the Peace and Security Council of the African Union has not been without its challenges and changing circumstances and bottlenecks in its work. That is why they were convening to find innovative approaches to facilitate the work of the Council.

Amb Katende informed the meeting that the 10th AU PSC Retreat would focus on Reviewing the PSC Methods of Work and the Implementation of PSC Decisions adopted since 2007, reflect on the 2017/18 budget and how the Council Fund can be revitalized, as well as deliberate on how to strengthen the PSC Secretariat for greater efficiency and effectiveness.

During the course of the Retreat, he said, the Council would be guided by H.E President Paul Kagame’s recommendation to the Assembly, and the Assembly’s decision, for a thorough reform of the Peace and Security Council, including (a) reviewing the PSC’s membership in line with Article 5(4) of the PSC Protocol, (b) strengthening the PSC’s working methods, and (c) strengthening the PSC’s role in prevention and crisis management.

He expounded on the expectations that the PSC at the end of the Retreat to be able to come up with conclusions and recommendations that would add value to its delivery system.

Dr. Admore Kambudzi, Ag. Director for Peace and Security of the African Union Commission and Seretary of the PSC also made remarks.  He emphasized the need to revamp the Africa Peace Fund in order for Africa to own its own security by enhancing the funding all the peace related operations on the continent in line with the African Union Assembly Decision to finance 100% of AU Peace Operations Budget.

The AU PSC is composed of 15 member states with 10 members elected for 2 years and 5 elected for 3 years, in order to ensure continuity.  Uganda previously served on the Council from 2009-2011 then in 2013-2016, and was re-elected in January 2016 for a two-year term running from March 2016-March 2018. Uganda is the Chair of the Council for the month of May 2017.

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