This was aired in a statement by the President Hage Geingob, delivered on his behalf by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Hon Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah on Wednesday, during the Opening Ceremony of the African Union’s 6th Annual Retreat of Special Envoys and Mediators on the Promotion of Peace, Security and Stability.
The African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) this year held its two-day retreat under the theme, ‘Terrorism, Mediation and Armed Groups’, in Windhoek, where former Heads of State, members of the Diplomatic corps as well as other AU delegates were in attendance. President Geingob said, “Africans should adhere to the ideals of the New Africa, an Africa of electoral democracy, an Africa where our former leaders are respected and an Africa which shuns those who come into power through force.”
“We must recognize that those principles for which the African Union and its citizens now stands, namely democracy and a zero tolerance for undemocratic change of government, are key to the maintenance of peace, security and stability,” he said. urthermore he commended the efforts of the leader of the recent coup attempt in Burkina Faso who admitted it had been the biggest mistake of his life trying to take power.
Since this year the African Union declared 2015 as the Year of Women’s Empowerment, Geingob hoped the retreat would consider ways in which to bring peace to areas of violent conflict as well as the inclusion of women mediators and peace brokers to be taken into consideration.
Meanwhile, Ambassador Smail Chergui, Commissioner for Peace and Security, African Union Commission, noted that, a retreat focused on terrorism should not shy away from a discussion of its causes.
“It is imperative that we also remain focused on addressing the root causes of terrorism,” he added.
Haile Menkerios, Special representative of the Secretary General to the African Union, UNOAU, noted that the retreat is a unique opportunity for Africans to critically examine their respective and collective experiences in mediating conflict and facilitating negotiations in today’s complex environments, which have been rendered more daunting due to the emergence of terrorism as a major exacerbating factor.