12th AU Summit Opens in Addis Ababa Amidst Call for Unity and Solidarity Ahead many Development Challenges in Africa Notably, Infrastructure

February 3, 2009 at 1:56 pm | Posted in Africa | Leave a comment
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Addis Ababa, 3nd February 2009 – The 12th Assembly of Heads of States and Government of the African Union officially kicked off yesterday, Monday 2nd February 2009 at the Conference Centre of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, under the theme: “ Infrastructure Development in Africa”, with emphasis on transport and energy sectors.

The Assembly began by observing one minute of silence in memory of H.E. Levy Mwanawasa, former President of the Republic of Zambia and H.E. General Lansana Conte, former President of the Republic of Guinea, who passed away during the year 2008.

The Heads of States then proceeded to officially welcome the new members of their Assembly, H.E. Rupiah Banda, newly elected President of the Republic of Zambia; H.E. Kgalema Motlanthe, new President of the Republic of South Africa; and H.E. Sheikh Sharif Ahmed Said, new President of the Republic of Somalia.

Holding under the chairmanship of H.E. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, outgoing Chairperson of the African Union and President of the United Republic of Tanzania, key speakers at the opening ceremony of the 12 Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the African Union were: Mr. Jean Ping, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Amr Moussa, Secretary General of the Arab League, and Mr. Mohamed, representative of the President of Palestine, Mahmoud Abass.

In his address, Chairperson expressed solidarity and support to the Government of the Republic of Kenya, for the loss of many lives involved in the fire accident that recently occurred in Kenya.

The Chairperson further welcomed all the guests of honour who were attending the AU Summit for the first time, notably, His Royal Highness, Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Emir of Dubai, and the newly appointed United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Magistrate Nawanethem Pillay from South Africa, amongst others.

Chairperson Ping expressed gratitude to the Heads of States for theirs continuous support to the AUC leadership in its efforts to achieve its missions for the development of Africa. He further highlighted the different achievements of the Commission in the areas of peace and security; economic and financial crises; conflict resolutions and conflict managements; food security and agriculture, amongst others.

Speaking later, the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon said the African Union meets at a critical period in Africa’s search for development in greater peace and security. “ I welcome African countries on-going efforts to perfect their union”. He added.

Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, called on all the African countries to reinforce their strategies and unite to face the many challenges in the continent. He commended the African Union for the efforts done in the area of peace and security, conflict management, food security, climate change, amongst other things, while recalling that much still has to be done to enable Africa attain the millennium development Goals.

Meanwhile, outgoing Chairperson of the African Union, Jakaya Kikwete expressed satisfaction to the tremendous progress made by the African Union during the year 2008, while calling on more commitment by Member States to increase their support to the efforts of the African Union in ensuring the integration of Africa as well as its development.

Meanwhile, the opening session of the Summit was crowed by the election of the next Chairperson of the African Union (AU) in the person of Leader Muammar Gaddafi, Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.

The Libyan Leader will replace outgoing Chairperson of the AU, Tanzanian President, Jakaya Kikwete, at the helm of the affairs of the Union.

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