Nii Akrofi Smart-Abbey,
The 26th Summit of the African Union opened on Wednesday morning in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.
Foreign ministers from the 54 member states will meet till Thursday ahead of the start of the ordinary session of Heads of State at the weekend.
High on the agenda will be the conflicts plaguing the continent.
Chairperson of the Africa Union Commission, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma reminded the gathering of the pledge to end wars on the continent by 2020.
“We are but 4 years away from our target year to silence the guns and end the suffering of women, men and children, in the few countries still plagued by conflicts and in the regions facing the threats of terrorism and violent extremism” she said.
Although Dr. Dlamini-Zuma did not directly mention Burundi, there is no doubt that country will be up for discussion as the Africa Union plans to send troops there to help deal with fears of the start of an ethnic war.
The AU Commission Chair however touched on the subject of freedom for people in Western Sahara.
“We must also not relent on our efforts to ensure that the people of Western Sahara and other territories, still denied the right to self determination are able to determine their own future” she added.
Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa, Carlos Lopes chose to focus on the causes of the conflicts.
“Huge differences in the distribution and exercise of political and economic power” he noted “result in violent conflicts”.
He said “African priorities” must either be dealt with up front or “everybody will pay the price for the fragility perception”.
A peace and security council meeting is expected to be convened by the Heads of State on Friday.
Meanwhile the ongoing crisis in South Sudan are expected to be part of the agenda as well as that of Burundi and Somalia.