Monday, 27 May 2013

African leaders create emergency military force

New Generation Africa, understands that African leaders decided on Monday to immediately establish a military rapid reaction force to deal with regional security emergencies, moving to reduce the continent's reliance on outside f forces and funds for its defence.
The move made at an African Union (AU) summit in Addis Ababa followed calls from several leaders for an African defence capacity to be created right away, given the persistence of a number of conflicts and rebellions on the continent.
Plans for an African Standby Force have existed for more than a decade. But delays in the creation of this contingent has led to criticism that Africa has for too long been slow to do its own peacekeeping, relying instead on help and funding from the United Nations and Western donors.
The text of the AU Assembly decision, seen by New Generation Africa, said the immediate rapid response force would be formed from voluntary contributions of troops, equipment and funds by member states currently in a position to provide these.
The initiative was being called the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises (ACIRC), and it would be a transitional stop-gap measure pending the full formation of the planned Standby Force.
It would consist of a "flexible and robust force to be deployed very rapidly to effectively respond to emergency situations, within the framework of the African Peace and Security Architecture".
The decision was part of initiative and/or on-going proposal "aimed at helping in bringing about African solutions to Africa's problems", the text concluded.
Security challenges faced by the AU over the last two years have included coups in Guinea-Bissau and Mali, offensives by Islamist militant groups in Niger, Mali and Nigeria, and conflict involving rebels in Libya, eastern Congo and Central African Republic.
In Mali, former colonial power France sent in troops and planes earlier this year to block an advance by Islamist jihadists group, an intervention that embarrassed the AU by showing up the continent's lack of its own defensive capacity and/or ability to send a rapid response force to deal with conflicts in Africa.  

The belated uncoordinated response force put together by African Union member States to help tackle the security issue and related 'jihadists' conflict in Mali was seen as many observers around the world as a sign of weakness and a major concern for investors in the continent.

In a separate development the :

The African Union (AU) has accused the International Criminal Court (ICC) of "hunting" Africans because of their race.
It was opposed to the ICC trying Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta on charges of crimes against humanity, said Ethiopia's Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.
The AU would raise its concerns with the UN, he added.
Mr Kenyatta is due to be tried in July on charges of crimes against humanity.
He denies the charges, which arise from accusations that he fuelled violence after disputed elections in 2007.
He was elected president in March, after defeating then-Prime Minister Raila Odinga in a tightly contested poll.
Speaking at the end of an AU summit in Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, Mr Hailemariam said African leaders had expressed that out of those indicted by the ICC "99% are Africans".
"This shows something is flawed within the system if the ICC," he said.
The ICC had been formed to end the culture of impunity, but "now the process has degenerated into some kind of race hunting", Mr Hailemariam said.

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