AU stands by Zimbabwe
ZAMBIA’S Foreign Affairs Minister Mr Wylbur Simuusa has reiterated that African countries will not attend the EU-Africa Summit scheduled for Belgium in April if President Mugabe is barred from attending the meeting.
Speaking in an interview with a Zambian newspaper after the 22nd Ordinary Session of the AU General Assembly held in Addis Ababa last week, Mr Simuusa said the AU has decided to adopt common positions on political, economic and cultural issues affecting the continent.
“The African Union has resolved to move as a united front on issues of governance and international policy.
“We must now speak with one voice and make sure we act in the interest of Africa.
“That is why for the EU-Africa summit coming up, where Zimbabwe has been singled out with restrictions for President Robert Mugabe from attending, the position that the AU has taken is that if Zimbabwe won’t go, then Africa will not go and that has been agreed upon,” Mr Simuusa said.
Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi also confirmed the position taken by the AU on his return from the Assembly on Saturday.
The EU-Africa Summit is expected to be held in Belgium from April 2-3 and will focus on strategic priorities under the Joint Africa-EU Strategy.
The strategy seeks to enhance political co-operation and partnerships at all levels.
The EU has not invited Zimbabwe to the summit as part of the enforcement of the illegal sanctions it imposed on the country.
Meanwhile, the AU Assembly welcomed the establishment by the AU Commission of a panel of independent experts to assess the status of the operationalisation of the African Standby Force and its Rapid Deployment Capability (RDC), as well as the development of proposals for the operationalisation of the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises.
The body also expressed its disappointment with the UN’s failure to halt proceedings at the ICC against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto but urged African states to speak with one voice on amendments to the Rome Statutes creating the ICC.
The Assembly also agreed that the continent’s resources should be in the hands of locals and stop foreigners from dictating their exploitation.
The Assembly adopted the 2050 Africa Integrated Maritime (AIM) Strategy plan of Action Plan.
It retained the 2015-2025 decade as the “Decade of African Seas and Oceans”, set 25 July as the African Day of Seas and Oceans.