Peace and Security Council Report Issue No.119
The first article is titled: Why African citizens were shocked by the pictures from Sochi. It discusses the images of African officials in Russia testing and gazing at sophisticated weapons, with visible exhilaration, which have been circulating online. This was happening on the margins of the Russia–Africa Summit held in Sochi on 23–24 October 2019. Even though countries have the sovereign right to buy arms for national defence purposes, the pictures raise several legitimate concerns. These centre on the implications of bringing more arms to a continent already awash with weapons, caught in the grip of armed violence and instability in many of its regions, and that is trying to ‘silence the guns’ by 2020. The second article: Negotiations to end all wars in Sudan. The transitional government of Sudan started peace talks in September 2019 with armed groups in parts of the country with longstanding conflicts, particularly in the Blue Nile, South Kordofan and Darfur. The African Union (AU), which was instrumental in mediating between the Transitional Military Council (TMC) and civilians following the removal of then president Omar al-Bashir earlier this year, should continue to play a critical role in the peace process. It has a role as both mediator and guarantor of the agreement that will emerge from current negotiations. The following article: New threats to peace in Mozambique. Leaders from across Southern and Central Africa, as well as the AU Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat, travelled to Maputo, Mozambique in early August 2019 to act as guarantors for the peace agreement between the Mozambican government and former rebel group RENAMO. The following article is titled: Africa’s free trade initiative could bolster continental peace. The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the world’s largest trading block by virtue of the number of states signed onto it, is set to start trading in July 2020. The AfCFTA took three years to negotiate – considered a very short period for such a complex undertaking. The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) says this speedy conclusion demonstrates the ‘appetite and commitment’ of all parties. The next article is titled: No accessible meeting records: the unusual practice of the PSC. The PSC is the highest decision-making body of the AU on peace and security between summits of heads of state. It has met close to 900 times since its inception in 2004. Yet, while the PSC has issued communiqués or press statements on most of its meetings, it has kept neither verbatim records nor official minutes of its meetings in a consistent manner. The last article: ‘Terrorism should not find a physical, economic and moral fertile ground’. Ambassador Ahmedou Ould Abdallah, president of the Centre for Strategy and Security in the Sahel Sahara, former United Nations (UN) Representative for West Africa in Somalia and Burundi and former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mauritania, spoke to the PSC Report about the security threat in the Sahel region and what can be expected going forward.