Thursday, January 30, 2014

World News: African summit addresses Central region and South Sudan conflicts

Members of the South Sudan army ride on their tank near Bor South Sudan

Africa's leaders met in Ethiopia this week for a two-day summit, and the conflict in the Central African Republic and South Sudan dominated the agenda. The African Union meeting, opened by outgoing chairman and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, are focused on agriculture and food security, according to an AFP report on Yahoo! News.

The 54-member organization spent much of the time trying to resolve conflict in member states. "Our hearts go to the people of the Central African Republic (CAR) and South Sudan who face devastating conflicts in their countries and especially to women and children who've become the victims," AU commission chief Nkosazana-Dlamini Zuma said in her opening remarks.

African leaders want to diligently work to pull these regions out of the abyss and failure to do so will have serious ramifications for peace and security. In CAR, a 5,300-member AU force is deployed alongside 1,600 French soldiers after the region descended into chaos 10 months ago when rebels overthrew the government, sparking violence between the Christian majority and Muslim minority.

The government and rebels in South Sudan signed a ceasefire last week, the AFP reported, but clashes continue with thousands killed and more than 800,000 forced from their homes in bloodshed that has now lasted six weeks. Peace talks led by the regional East African bloc, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development adjourned after last week's deal, with mediators calling for the AU to play a greater role in the peace process.

South Sudan army soldiers guard Bor airport in December 2013

Do you believe these blocs will break new ground on peace talks in the African region?

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