Minister bemoans ‘marked’ increase in coups in Africa

International Relations and Co-operation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane has bemoaned the resurgence of coups and other unconstitutional changes of government in Africa, saying they increased markedly in the past two years.

Addressing Parliament during her budget vote last week, she said such upheavals were unnecessary “setbacks” for peace and security gains made on the continent.

She pointed out that 30 out of 53 states in Africa had volunteered to participate in the African Peer Review Mechanism.

“The African Union (AU) has declared the ‘Year of Peace and Security in Africa’, and therefore called upon us to redouble our efforts in the resolution of conflicts on our continent,” she said.

Nkoana-Mashabane said the AU should improve its response to situations of unconstitutional change, and close loopholes in its existing instruments and mechanisms.

On April 1 SA became a member of the AU Peace and Security Council for two years.

The minister told Parliament that SA had the support of the AU to seek nonpermanent membership of the United Nations (UN) Security Council for 2011-12 in October.

“We see our membership of the AU Peace and Security Council and the UN Security Council as an opportunity to continue contributing to our efforts and resources to the peace, security and stability of our continent and globally.”

SA would continue to carry out its mandate from the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) to facilitate negotiations between Zimbabwe’s Zanu (PF) and the two Movement for Democratic Change factions for the implementation of the Global Political Agreement.

“We are also pleased to have reached a stage where we can say that our facilitation efforts to end the conflict in Burundi are drawing to a positive close, and join the international community in looking forward to elections which will start next month,” she added.

Nkoana-Mashabane said SA would remain committed to regional economic integration in Africa.

The country’s work in Sadc would build on the free trade arrangement achieved in 2008 by focusing on boosting regional production capacity, facilitating cross-border trade, and developing cross-border infrastructure.

Source: www.businessday.co.za

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