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AFRICA: AU appeals to G8 to back peace plan

4/5/2005 6:40pm

ADDIS ABABA, 5 Apr 2005 (IRIN) - The African Union (AU) appealed to the G8 group of powerful countries on Monday to be bold and back its plans for a pan-African peace strategy.

Said Djinnit, the AU's peace and security commissioner, said the continent needed "hundreds of millions of dollars" of support for peace initiatives in Africa.

He was speaking at the first meeting between G8 countries and the AU to identify how wealthy nations can support African peace initiatives, at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia's capital.

Djinnit's comments come ahead of July's crucial G8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, which will be chaired by the UK.

"We are looking for bold decision[s] at the next summit of the G8," Djinnit said. "Hopefully this summit will be devoted to a great extent on peace in Africa.

"The time has come for our partners to be more serious about supporting us, and that is a summit that can make a difference. We believe concrete commitments will come out of the summit."

There are four main elements to the AU's peace strategy – a 15,000-strong rapid-deployment African stand-by force, a continent-wide early-warning system, a mediation unit known as the "panel of the wise", and a post-conflict reconstruction programme to prevent nations slipping back into chaos.

"This is an opportunity for world leaders - the G8 - to make a real difference to the lives of people whose lives are blighted by conflict on the continent," Djinnit added.

"Everybody has realised that as long as you have not managed to have a climate of peace, security and stability prevailing on the continent, it is an obstacle - because the first to suffer are people dying - with disastrous effects on the economy of the continent," he said.


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