AU to adopt SA military initiative

2013-05-28 14:38
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African Union celebrates 50 years

See photos from the AU Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where African leaders gathered to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the creation of the African Union.

Johannesburg - The African Union (AU) will establish a new military force following a suggestion from South Africa, the international relations and co-operation department said on Tuesday.

"On Monday... the African Union summit [in Ethiopia] adopted a historic decision to establish the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises [ACIR], at the initiative of South Africa," said spokesperson Clayson Monyela in a statement.

The proposal was made to tackle ongoing obstacles to peace and security which undermined democratically elected governments.

The AU did not at the moment have an immediate response mechanism, as the process of implementing the African Peace and Security structure was ongoing, said Monyela.

The proposed ACIR was an interim measure, pending the African Standby Force's (ASF) commencement of operations and rapid deployment capability.

Troop commitments

The ACIR was, therefore, not a new concept, but built on the principles of the ASF.
"This interim measure will further provide African countries with the flexibility to take concrete measures to address the challenges in the interim," he said.

This would allow the process of getting the ASF into operation to take place.

President Jacob Zuma told the summit that South Africa stood ready to provide support to deal with urgent matters of the continent.

Following South Africa's pledge of assistance, other countries also pledged their support, and readiness, to contribute to the ACIR.

Monyela said: "South Africa's initiative has thus received broad consensus from member states of the African Union and has been adopted as a decision of the summit."

Asked by Sapa whether any troop commitments had been made by South Africa at this stage, Monyela said that would be "running ahead of the process".

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