Zuma pushes for African solutions to African problems

2013-11-06 08:15

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President Jacob Zuma told a handful of other African leaders the creation of an African interim response force to react to military crises on the continent needed to be speeded up to "ensure African solutions to African problems".

Zuma told the heads of state in the African Union who turned up for his meeting last night that any delays to the creation of such an interim structure, dubbed the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises (ACIRC), "would defeat its very purpose".

The absence of a response force has seen Mali reach out to France to intervene when there was a coup in the country last year, while the crisis in the Central African Republic has seen the French intervening again.

Zuma called on the leaders to help get rid of conflicts in Africa. "Let us work actively to develop our continent, providing African solutions to African problems.

"The time to manage our own affairs as Africans is now,"  he said.

Heads of state from Uganda, Chad and Tanzania met with Zuma in Pretoria to discuss how to make the interim structure work and how to put it in place more quickly, and to talk about the pledges made by countries to ACIRC.

Participation in ACIRC is voluntary.

He said he hoped by the end of the year there would be "a mechanism that can breathe life into our aspirations for African ownership and leadership in immediately and urgently responding to security challenges faced by this great continent".

Zuma said when the decision on the rapid response force was taken by the AU in May, the organisation's fiftieth celebrations, "we realised that in order to ensure African solutions to African problems, we needed both the will and the commitment – within the framework of the African Peace and Security Architecture – to put in place an African force that could respond to these immediate calls for intervention".

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