President of Mozambique Joaquim Chissano, who chairs the Forum for Former Heads of State and Government, said the meeting had given the statesmen an opportunity to express their support for and congratulatory messages to Dlamini Zuma. He added that the forum was looking forward to working with the new office bearers in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where Dlamini Zuma will take office. The forum draws members from nine countries including South Africa, represented by its former President Thabo Mbeki.
Urgent solution needed in Sudan conflict
Pretoria: Incoming African Union Chairperson and South Africa's Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma says she's confident that a solution can be found to quell tensions in Sudan. "If we don't get it right who will? I think as Africans we have to have solutions to our problems, they may not be easy solutions but we have to find those solutions," she said after meeting with former African Heads of State in Pretoria on Wednesday.
The UN Security Council said this week it planned to review whether Sudan and South Sudan were complying with an August 2 deadline to try to settle their disputes. South Sudan, Africa's newest state, had been fighting with its neighbour Sudan over oil resources situated in the Abyei region.
With observers fearing that a full-scale war may erupt between the two countries, Dlamini Zuma emphasised that a solution needed to be found urgently.
The Southern African Development Community organ Troika also met in South Africa this week to discuss the conflicts in the region.
"It's important that we deal with all of these conflicts because if we had a way, we would prevent them from happening even before they start but it's important that when they start they are dealt with," Dlamini Zuma said.
She did not believe that the AU Peace and Security Council had failed to address the impasse in Sudan and South Sudan by insisting on talks with Sudan's Omar Al Bashir, who is wanted by the international court for war crimes. A warrant of arrest has been issued for Al Bashir.
"The AU believes that the issue of development cannot be addressed when there is war. If you follow what the AU has been saying, they have taken a decision some time back that they would like that to be deferred because they thought that it was important to get peace in Sudan and that President Al Bashir had to be part of finding a solution to peace in Sudan."
She said the AU "had applied its mind" and decided that it was more important to get peace in Sudan than to than to rush for the arrest of Al Bashir. "That is why we asked for it to be deferred and that decision still stands as far as I know."
Meanwhile, former President of Mozambique Joaquim Chissano, who chairs the Forum for Former Heads of State and Government, said the meeting had given the statesmen an opportunity to express their support for and congratulatory messages to Dlamini Zuma.
He added that the forum was looking forward to working with the new office bearers in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where Dlamini Zuma will take office. The forum draws members from nine countries including South Africa, represented by its former President Thabo Mbeki.
"Our mission was to express our readiness to cooperate with her and the whole of the commission in whatever areas where we can find it necessary for us to assist, so we came to inform her about our responsibility at any moment to do what we can to regain the prestige of Africa," Chissano said.
The elders were confident in Dlamini Zuma and the AU's capacity to resolve the current conflicts on the continent, including the political instability in Sudan, Mali, Madagascar and Western Sahara.
"We base this confidence on the unity of Africa and the spirit if pan Africanism, we stressed the point of the need to revive the spirit of self-reliance in Africa. We continue to be concerned about the conflicts and we call for unity," added Chissano.