President Jacob Zuma’s Visit to Uganda and his Participation in the 15th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the AU – 24-27 July 2010
The President the Republic of South Africa, Mr Jacob Zuma concluded his visit to Uganda and his participation in the 15th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union which ended on July 27th, 2010.
President Zuma used the occasion of his address to the Summit to convey the Government and the People of South Africa’s condolences to the Ugandan Government for the recent twin bombings that happened on the evening of July 11th, 2010 when soccer fans were watching the final of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in Kampala. “The terrorist attacks were not just directed at the people of Uganda alone, but was directed at all the people of the Continent and the world” the President said. He committed to “walking and acting together” with the Ugandan people through the AU as they fought to combat terrorism.
The key discussions and decisions taken at the Assembly at its Fifteenth Ordinary Session of July 25-27, 2010, focused on the following issues:
The theme of the Summit focused on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health and Development in Africa. The Assembly acknowledged progress made in the implementation of the relevant commitments on maternal, infant and child health, including the launching of the Campaign on Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa (CARMMA) by the AU. In this regard, the Assembly adopted a Declaration on concrete actions that should be undertaken on maternal, newborn and child health by 2015. These actions will further complement and support the Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5. Key stakeholders involving women, children and young people, persons with disabilities, parliamentarians, community and religious leaders, civil society organizations, the media, and the private sector will also be drawn into this process;
Regarding the 2010 Year of Peace and Security, a Progress Report was presented to the Assembly Session. The Assembly welcomed the activities undertaken by the AU Commission aimed at achieving a conflict-free Africa. African countries were encouraged to continue with activities that commemorated the striving for peace and security on the continent.
On the activities of the Peace and Security Council and the state of Peace and Security in Africa, the Assembly encouraged the SADC Mediator, former President Joachim Chissano to pursue and intensify consultations with the Malagasy parties, with a view to facilitating an early and consensual return to legality, in accordance with the AU relevant instruments and decisions;
Regarding the Sudan, former President Mbeki, in his capacity as Chair of the High Level Implementation Panel, gave the Assembly Session an update on political developments in the Sudan. The Assembly was informed that negotiations were ongoing in Sudan and being undertaken within the context of the UN regarding the referendum in 2011. The Heads of State were also informed that the AU and UN were jointly coordinating peaceful transitional activities in the Sudan under the leadership of the African Union.
Much debate was generated on the question of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia, taking into account the recent terrorist attacks in Uganda. The Assembly strongly condemned the attacks and other acts of violence perpetrated by Al Shabab and other terrorist groups against the TFG, the Somali people and the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). The Assembly Session called for the necessary support required for peace and stability to be restored in Somalia.
Furthermore, the Assembly condemned the despicable terrorist attacks committed by Al Shabab in Kampala on July 11, 2010 against innocent civilians, and called on all member-states and the entire international community to isolate and take all required measures against individuals, entities and States engaged in terrorist acts and whose action is undermining the peace and reconciliation process in Somalia, as well as regional stability;
The Assembly Session was also given a Progress Report on its decision relating to the Second Ministerial Meeting on the Rome Statute on the International Criminal Court. The Heads of States reiterated the importance of peace and justice in Darfur and their commitment to fight impunity in conformity with the provisions of the Constitutive Act of the African Union. In addition, the Assembly reiterated the AU request to the UN for the deferment of proceedings against President Omar Hassan El-Bashir of the Republic of Sudan for a period of one year.
On the aspect of the transformation of the African Union Commission into the African Union Authority, a Progress Report was presented on this issue – in conformity with a previous decision of the Assembly Session. the Assembly reiterated its commitment to the vision of gradually transforming the AU Commission into the AU Authority in order to strengthen the institutional building processes of the AU and to accelerate the integration of the Continent;
On the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) project on the African Continent, the Assembly acknowledged the importance of science, technology and innovation emanating from the SKA project in development of our knowledge-based economies and driving human capital development programmes. In this regard, the Assembly appreciated the efforts of the Republic of South Africa in coordinating Africa’s bid to promote space related science and technology matters on the continent, and endorsed the Republic of South Africa’s bid to host, in collaboration with Botswana, Ghana, Namibia, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Kenya and Zambia the SKA on the African Continent;
On Climate Change Negotiations, the Assembly endorsed the recommendations of the Committee of Heads of State and Government on Climate Change (CAHOSCC) on the streamlined single negotiation structure at the Ministerial and Experts levels, with a view to ensuring effective coordination on climate change towards the 16th and 17th Conference of Parties (COP) 16 and 17 in Cancun (Mexico) and in South Africa in 2010 and 2011 respectively. In addition, the Assembly endorsed the continued role of South Africa on the CAHOSCC in the run-up to COP17 in 2011;
On the Orientation Committee on NEPAD, the Assembly recalled the intrinsic importance of infrastructure to realizing Africa’s growth and development goals, including existing AU and NEPAD infrastructure initiatives, particularly the AU/NEPAD African Action Plan: 2010-2015 as endorsed by the 21st NEPAD Heads of State and Government. The Assembly further noted that the primary responsibility for implementing NEPAD priority programmes/projects in the African Action Plan (AAP) lies with national governments and Regional Economic Communities;
The Assembly took note of the updated information provided by South Africa on the status of its preparations towards hosting the African Diaspora Summit, and requested the Commission, in consultation with the Republic of South Africa to continue working closely on this initiative in order to develop an appropriate roadmap and timeline for this exercise; and
Finally, the Assembly endorsed a declaration on the successful hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup by the Republic of South Africa. President Zuma and the people of South Africa were congratulated for the hosting of the world-wide sporting event which positively raised the profile of South Africa and the entire African continent.
President Zuma arrived back in South Africa last night.
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