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25.01.2005 General News

African Stand-by Force should be operational - Foreign Ministers

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Accra, Jan. 25, GNA - Foreign Ministers of the African Union (AU) High-level Committee on the Non-Aggression Pact and the Common Defence and Security in Africa, on Tuesday agreed that the Stand-by Force for the AU should be operational.

The decision was taken at a day's meeting in Accra to prepare the ground for the AU High-Level Committee of Heads of State and Government on the Non-Aggression Pact and the Common Defence and Security in Africa meeting scheduled for Abuja, Nigeria on January 29.

Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, announced this when he led the Foreign Ministers to brief President John Agyekum Kufuor, Chairman of the Committee on their deliberations at the Castle, Osu.

The Foreign Ministers were from Ghana, South Africa, Congo, Ethiopia, Algeria and Mozambique, whose governments form the High-Level Committee.

Nana Akufo-Addo said: "We reached consensus on a document that embodies the considerations that we had had and captured fundamental issues".

"We are satisfied that it is a good document on a single army as the goal to make the Stand-by Force operational," he said.

Dr Dlamini Nkosazana Zuma, South African Foreign Minister, in her contribution said: "We have done our best to accommodate all the different views in the different documents".

President Kufuor commended the Foreign Ministers for a very good work done.

He said: "With your accumulated experience and commitment my colleagues would want to know what the Committee is doing". The January 29 Abuja meeting will be a prelude to a special African Union (AU) Summit the following day to consider a common defence and security policy for the continental body.

The Committee of Heads of State and Government was established to examine issues relating to non-aggression, common defence and common security in Africa.

Members of the Committee are the Heads of State of Algeria; Republic of Congo; Ethiopia and South Africa. It also has Mozambique, the immediate past Chairman of the Africa Union as Ex-Officio Member.

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