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MAPUTO, Mozambique (PANA)–The newly-elected chairperson of the Commission of the African Union, Alpha Oumar Konare of Mali, took the oath of office of the African Union (AU) shortly before the Union’s Assembly ended its second ordinary session July 10-12.
During its deliberations, the AU recommended the setting up of a “Council on the Future of the Union,” and charged the AU Commission with the responsibility of carrying out feasibility studies for its operation.
The idea, presented by President Abdoulaye Wade, was supported by a large number of countries, delegates told PANA.
According to Pres. Wade, the Council on the Future should not be seen or considered as a new organ but rather as “an AU mechanism intended to better control its evolution.”
He defined the Council as an authority for possible reflection on at least 10 types of challenges facing the AU, now that its most essential organs have been set up and are operational.
The first of the challenges is “the search for funds” for development projects such as NEPAD (New Partnership for Africa’s Development). The Council should also initiate studies on the challenges of globalization, international trade and WTO negotiations. It should also deal with issues such as the reform of the international monetary system and make an in-depth assessment of relations between Africa and Bretton Woods institutions.
Pres. Wade envisions the Council coming up with “a program to control the continent’s development,” as well as to carry out specific studies on an African central bank and an African investment bank. It will finally prepare an annual report on the status of the Union.
The Senegalese head of state suggested that the chairperson of the Council on the Future be appointed by his peers to coordinate its objectives. He also suggested a four-year term for the chairman, at the end of which the conference of heads of state will make a systematic assessment and take a new decision.
It is on these concrete implementation aspects of the Senegalese proposal that opinions diverge, PANA was told here, which made the Maputo summit leave it to the Executive Committee and the Commission for a thorough examination.
Meanwhile, the protocol to the Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community relating to the Pan-African Parliament needs 24 more ratifications to enter into force, it was disclosed here.
According to a decision passed by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government, the instrument would be operational after obtaining 47 ratifications by member states of the AU. The Assembly urged a speedy ratification process to enable it to become operational by Dec. 31, 2003.
The Pan-African Parliament is intended to ensure effective and full participation of African peoples in the development and integration of the continent.
The AU reaffirmed its commitment to combat terrorism, when the heads of state and government proposed an international conference to draw up a code of conduct on counter-terrorism.
The fight against terrorism, they said in a resolution, must be based on a global approach to peace in order to address the root causes of the new challenges to the security of states and individuals.
African leaders believe that it is imperative to establish a code of conduct geared towards combating terrorism and promoting humanitarian and moral values. Such a code should promote negotiations on the drafting of a Global Convention on Terrorism, they said.
The summit has appealed to all members of the United Nations and international organizations to support this initiative and contribute to concretizing it when placed before the UN General Assembly.
In keeping with the gender equality concept adopted at the 2002 Durban, South Africa, summit of the African Union (AU), the Executive Council of the AU elected five women to serve as commissioners on the AU Commission.
Those elected were Julia Dolly Joiner (Gambia), Gawanas Bience Philomina (Namibia), Saida Agrebi (Tunisia), Elisabeth Tankeu (Cameroon) and Rosebud Kurwijila (Tanzania).
The five women will occupy the portfolios of political affairs (Gambia), social affairs (Namibia), human resources, sciences and technology (Tunisia), commerce and industry (Cameroon) and rural economy and agriculture (Tanzania), respectively.
Algerian Said Djinnit was also elected to hold the peace and security portfolio, while Congolese Bernard Zoba got the post of commissioner in charge of infrastructure and energy.