REPORT OF THE PEACE AND SECURITY COUNCIL ON ITS ACTIVITIES AND THE STATE OF PEACE AND SECURITY IN AFRICA

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1 AFRICAN UNION UNION AFRICAINE UNIÃO AFRICANA Addis Ababa, Ethiopia P. O. Box 3243 Telephone: Fax: Website: ASSEMBLY OF THE UNION Twenty-Eighth Ordinary Session January 2017 Addis Ababa, ETHIOPIA Assembly/AU/6(XXVIII)Rev.1 Original: English/French REPORT OF THE PEACE AND SECURITY COUNCIL ON ITS ACTIVITIES AND THE STATE OF PEACE AND SECURITY IN AFRICA

2 Page 1 REPORT OF THE PEACE AND SECURITY COUNCIL ON ITS ACTIVITIES AND THE STATE OF PEACE AND SECURITY IN AFRICA I. INTRODUCTION 1. The present Report of the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU) on its Activities and the State of Peace and Security in Africa is submitted to the Assembly of the AU pursuant to Article 7(q) of its Protocol. The Report covers the period from the 27 th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the AU, held from 17 to 18 July 2016, in Kigali, Rwanda, to the 28 th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union to take place from 30 to 31 January The report covers the activities carried out by the PSC during the period under review and state of peace and security on the continent with respect to conflict and crisis situations, as well as an overview of the status of the implementation of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA). Furthermore, the African Union Master Roadmap on Practical Steps to Silence the Guns in Africa by Year 2020 is attached to this report. The Roadmap was developed by the PSC in an effort to trigger a systematic and monitored implementation of the 50 th Anniversary Solemn Declaration adopted on 26 May 2013, in particular on Silencing the Guns in Africa by 2020, among others. 2. At this outset, it should be noted that the PSC comprises fifteen (15) members with equal rights, in line with Article 5 (1) of its Protocol. The current membership of the PSC includes Algeria, Botswana, Burundi, Chad, Congo*, Egypt*, Kenya*, Niger, Nigeria*, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Togo, Uganda and Zambia* 1. In conformity with Rule 23 of the Rules of Procedure of the PSC, the PSC members have rotated the chair of the PSC on monthly basis following the English alphabetical order of their names. During the period under review, Congo, Egypt, Kenya, Niger, and Sierra Leone chaired the PSC. II. ACTIVITIES OF THE PEACE AND SECURITY COUNCIL OF THE AFRICAN UNION a) Monthly activities of the PSC 3. During the reporting period, the PSC remained seized with the conflict and crisis situations in the continent, as well as thematic issues related to the promotion of peace, security and stability in Africa. In this context, the PSC held various meetings on conflict/crisis situations, such as those in Burundi, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Libya, Mali/Sahel, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan. The PSC also held meetings on thematic issues such as terrorism and violent extremism, early warning and conflict prevention, postconflict reconstruction and development, silencing the guns by 2020, Peace Fund, cybersecurity in the promotion and maintenance of peace and security in Africa, AU-UN 1 * Denotes PSC s with a three-year term mandate

3 Page 2 Partnership, refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), elections in Africa, as well as women and children in conflict situations in Africa. 4. The PSC also held consultative meetings with similar organs and/or bodies, in accordance with Article 17 of its Protocol. On 24 October 2016, the PSC held its 2 nd joint retreat, followed by its 9 th annual joint consultative meeting with the European Union (EU) Political and Security Committee (PSC) on 25 October 2016, in Brussels, Belgium. The PSC also held consultative meetings, with the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission (UNPBC) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), on 18 and 19 October 2016, respectively. 5. The PSC also held its 626 th meeting at the level of Heads of State and Government, on 19 September 2016, in which the situation in South Sudan was discussed. From 28 to 31 October 2016, the PSC undertook a field visit to South Sudan, to gather first-hand information on the situation in that country in order to scale up its contribution to the efforts to resolve the crisis in the country. 6. The PSC, held a Retreat on Practical Steps to Silence the Guns by 2020, from 7 to 9 November 2016, in Lusaka, Zambia. As already indicated, the Retreat developed the African Union Master Roadmap on Silencing the Guns by The Master Roadmap is a guideline for Africa as an implementation mechanism of the 50 th Anniversary Solemn Declaration, in particular on Silencing the Guns by In this regard, the Assembly may wish to endorse the Roadmap as a guideline for Africa s efforts of silencing the guns by year As per the practice of the PSC, chairpersons of the PSC of different months have represented the PSC on different activities of the AU, especially in meetings dealing with peace and security issues in Africa. The PSC Chairperson for October 2016 represented the PSC at the 4 th Parliament of the Pan-African Parliament, held in Sham El Sheikh, Egypt on 12 October 2016, which addressed peace and security challenges in Africa. Furthermore, the Chairperson of the PSC for the month of December 2016, accompanied by five representatives of the five regions of the AU, represented the PSC at the 4 th High-Level Seminar on Peace and Security in Africa, from 17 to 19 December 2016 in Oran, Algeria, on assisting the three African s in carrying out their role in the UN Security Council. b) State of Peace and Security in Africa: Conflict and Crisis Situations i. The Gambia 8. During the period under review, The Gambia held presidential elections on 1 December On 2 December 2016, following the results as officially announced by the National Electoral Commission, the then sitting President, Yahya Jammeh, conceded defeat and congratulated the winner, Adama Barrow, the opposition coalition candidate. On 9 December 2016, President Jammeh changed his mind and rejected the final results of the election as had been announced by the National Electoral

4 Page 3 Commission, on grounds of lack of transparency and international interference in the country s affairs. 9. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), as well as the AU and the larger international community, condemned the rejection of the election outcome by President Jammeh on 9 December 2016 and strongly underlined the imperative need to respect the will of the Gambian people, as expressed on 1 December 2016, and called upon President Jammeh to ensure a peaceful and smooth transfer of power to the President-Elect, Adama Barrow. On 10 December 2016, the ECOWAS High-Level delegation of Heads of led by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia, visited Banjul and met with President Jammeh and the President-Elect, Barrow, as well as other relevant stakeholders with a view to ensuring a smooth transfer of power to the President-Elect. On 17 December 2016, the ECOWAS Authority Summit decided to use all the necessary means to ensure the respect of the will of the people of The Gambia. On 13 January 2017, an ECOWAS High-Level delegation, including the representative of the AU, undertook a second visit to Banjul to further engage President Yahya Jammeh on the imperative of the peaceful and smooth transfer of power, on 19 January 2017, as provided for in the Gambian Constitution. The Delegation did not get any commitment from the outgoing President to hand over power on 19 January On its part, the PSC met on 6 and 12 December 2016 and on 13 and 20 January 2017, to consider the post-election situation in The Gambia. At its meeting of 6 December 2016, the PSC congratulated President Jammeh for having conceded defeat and congratulated the winner, Adama Barrow. On 12 December 2016, at its 644 th meeting, the PSC strongly rejected the rejection of 9 December 2016 by President Jammeh and called upon the Government of The Gambia and all stakeholders to work together towards the peaceful and smooth transfer of power to the President-Elect. 11. In all its meetings, the PSC underlined the inviolable nature of the outcome of the presidential election of 1 December 2016 and insisted on the peaceful hand over of power to the winner of the 1 December 2016 presidential election, Adama Barrow. Furthermore, the PSC expressed its full support to the ECOWAS efforts to resolve the post-election crisis in The Gambia. 12. On 19 January 2017, Adama Barrow, was sworn in as the President of The Gambia at the Gambian Embassy in Dakar, Senegal. On 20 January 2017, the PSC met, again, and recognised H.E. Adama Barrow as the President of The Gambia. It is also to be recalled that the UN Security Council, in its resolution 2337 adopted on 19 January 2017, recognized Adama Barrow as the President of The Gambia. 13. Between 19 and 20 January 2017, a number of initiatives have been taken by ECOWAS members and other African countries, to persuade Jammeh to peaceful hand over power to Adama Barrow. Finally, on 20 January 2017, following the visit of Presidents Mohamed Abdel Aziz of Mauritania and Alpha Konde of Guinea, former President Jammeh official announced that he was stepping down. The next day, 21 January 2017, Jammeh left The Gambia.

5 Page The Assembly may wish to congratulate and welcome the President of The Gambia, H.E. Adama Barrow. The Assembly may also wish to congratulate ECOWAS for its efforts towards finding a peaceful solution in The Gambia, that respect the will of the people of the country and preserves AU and ECOWAS instruments on democracy, elections and governance. The Assembly may wish to express its gratitude to Presidents Mohamed Abdel Aziz of Mauritania and Alpha Konde of Guinea for their decisive role in convincing former President Jammeh to hand over power. The Assembly may wish to call upon all AU as well as the international community at large, to extend support to The Gambia, with a view to assist the new authority in their efforts towards consolidating peace, security and stability, as well as healing and reconciliation process, that will lead the country to rebuild its economy. ii. South Sudan 15. During the period under review, South Sudan has remained a major continental concern. The implementation process of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCRSS) of August 2015 continues to face challenges, especially following the departure of former First-Vice President, Dr. Reik Machar, Chairman of the Sudan People s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM-IO) in July The appointment of his replacement General Taban Deng Gia, has raised some political, as well as technical questions, relating to the implementation of the ARCRSS. It should be noted that the SPLM-IO has held meetings to reorganize itself politically and militarily, following the defections of some of its leaders. The events of 8 July 2016, with the outbreak of fighting in Juba, has opened the risk of the spreading of clashes to the Equatoria region and other parts of the country. Consequently, the security situation continues to be tense and unpredictable. A marked impact of this situation is the deterioration of humanitarian conditions, including increase in the number of IDPs and refugees, as well as hunger. Following several consultations between the UN and the South Sudanese, in September 2016 the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU), accepted the deployment of the Regional Protection Force (RPF) to protect civilians, in line with the decision taken by IGAD and supported by both the PSC and UN Security Council. However, in January 2017, the South Sudan Minister of Defence, Kuol Manyang Juuk, announced that it was no longer necessary to deploy the RPF, as the situation on the ground had improved. 16. As part of the sustained AU efforts to find a solution, the Commissioner for Peace and Security, Ambassador Smaïl Chergui, and subsequently, the PSC, visited South Sudan in October 2016, to undertake consultations with the TGoNU and other key South Sudanese stakeholders on the challenges facing the country. The AU High Representative for South Sudan, former President Alpha Konare, also followed up, undertaking consultations in South Sudan and some regional countries, in November The IGAD Summit of December 2016 underlined the necessity of sustained engagements in South Sudan to find a solution. Reports of growing ethnic tensions and their possible consequences, as discussed during the IGAD Summit, remain a major concern. Meanwhile, the AU Commission is working to implement the PSC holistic approach consisting of healing, reconciliation and accountability. The AU High Representative for South Sudan, President Konare, will lead the delegation comprising

6 Page 5 Peace and Security Department, Department of Political Affairs and Legal Counsel to this effect. In December 2016, President Salva Kiir Mayardit, announced the launch of a National Dialogue, while asking for forgiveness for the wrongs committed in the past. Furthermore, the President stated that the National Dialogue was going to be implemented within the context of the ARCRSS. Meanwhile, the Joint Evaluation and Monitoring Commission (JMEC) continues to convene the South Sudan parties, as well as the international community, to assist in the implementation of the ARCRSS. 17. The Assembly may wish to call upon the South Sudanese stakeholders to reaffirm their commitment to the full implementation of the Agreement of August 2015, and call upon all stakeholders to contribute towards healing and reconciliation efforts in South Sudan, especially given the rise of ethnic tensions. The Assembly may urge the need to ensure that the National Dialogue is an all-inclusive process that helps with the reconciliation and healing of the nation. The Assembly may further call on all AU States to continue to support the efforts of the AU High Representative, former President Konare, as well as those of the JMEC, led by former President Festus Mogae, to sustain political dialogue in order to de-escalate tensions in South Sudan. The Assembly may urge the TGoNU, working with the UN, to accelerate the process of deploying the RPF, due to the fact that the security situation in South Sudan remains unpredictable, hence putting the safety of civilians at risk. The Assembly may also wish to urgently call for sustained political and financial support for the JMEC, in order to facilitate the implementation of the ARCRSS. iii. Somalia 18. During period under review, Somalia has continued to make significant progress in the process of building its federal system and in implementing its electoral processes, in line with the 2020 Somali Political Roadmap. Despite the repeated postponements due to the then pending issues and threats by Al-Shaabab, the electoral process, which started in October 2016, has achieved remarkable milestones, particularly the establishment of the Bicameral Assembly, which is expected to elect a new President in January The overall security situation remains relatively calm, despite recurrent Al Shabaab asymmetric attacks. The African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces, together with the Somali National Security Forces, continue to recover, pacify and consolidate large swathes of territory previously controlled by Al Shabaab. Furthermore, the humanitarian situation in the country has remained extremely challenging due to prolonged drought, fresh displacements of the population and arrival of returnees. It is worth noting that, the progress made by Somalia is threatened, among others, by limited national and grass-roots reconciliation efforts and intermittent inter-and intraclan/regional administration conflicts. 19. In spite of its major achievements in Somalia, AMISOM has and continues to face limitations in carrying out major offensive operations to flush out Al Shabaab militants from their main bases and strongholds, especially in the Juba River Valley and the North Eastern Coastline of Somalia, in order to extend the authority of the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS). The limitations are linked to three factors. First, is the lack of adequate force strength required to simultaneously hold the areas already

7 Page 6 captured and the force to launch the offensive. Additionally, there is a persistent defection by some members of the Somali National Army (SNA). In this regard, the PSC at its 648 th meeting held on 16 January 2017, decided to request the United Nations Security Council to authorize an AMISOM Troop total of 4,500 for a non-renewable period of six (6) months. Secondly, is the lack of the requisite force multipliers and enablers, as to date, only three helicopters, out of those pledged by Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda, have been acquired from the Government of Kenya, and lastly, is the lack of requisite logistics support for the forces earmarked for the operations. An additional major problem for AMISOM is the sanctions that were imposed by the EU on the Government of Burundi, which has blocked the established process of effecting payment of troop allowances to the Burundian troop in AMISOM.The Commissioner for Peace and Security, Amb. Smaïl Chergui, during his visit to Bujumbura on January 2017, has successfully negotiated a solution, which respects the sovereignty of Burundi and allows for the payment of its troops in AMISOM without any discrimination. Hence, the Government of Burundi has signed the MoU and declared that it will no longer withdraw its troops from AMISOM. 20. AMISOM also faces a challenge regarding the payment of troops following the reduction of 20% of the EU contribution to AMISOM on allowances. This development eroded the morale of the AMISOM troops. In order to rectify this anomaly, the PSC has repeatedly requested the UN Security Council for the use of UN assessed contributions in support of AU Peace Support Operations (PSOs), particularly the AMISOM. 21. The Assembly may wish to call upon all AU States and the international community to continue to provide political, financial and logistical support to Somalia and AMISOM, given that the country has reached the critical period marked by the electoral process, the imperative of full stabilization of the country and the challenge of sustained socio-economic delivery to satisfy the needs of the population. The Assembly may wish to call for continued mobilization of international support to address the humanitarian situation in the country. The Assembly may also wish to appeal to the UN Security Council for the use of UN assessed contributions in support of the AU-led PSOs, in particular the AMISOM. iv. Democratic Republic of Congo 22. The political situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), during the period under review, was marked by deep political divisions over the issue related to the date of the presidential and legislative elections. The demonstrations organized on 19 and 20 September 2016 by the political opposition, regrouped as the "Rassemblement", led by Mr. Etienne Tshisekedi, degenerated into violent confrontations, leading to many deaths and dozens injured, particularly in Kinshasa. The National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI), which had informed of difficulties that it was facing in its efforts to organize the elections within the constitutional deadlines, was finally authorized by the ruling of the Constitutional Court, on 17 October 2016, to postpone the elections. It was in this context that the stakeholders in the Inclusive National Political Dialogue, with the facilitation of Mr. Edem Kodjo, on behalf of the AU, and in presence of the Commissioner for Peace and Security, Amb. Smaïl Chergui, signed on 18 October

8 Page , in Kinshasa, a Political Agreement for the Organization of Peaceful, Credible and Free and Fair Elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, particularly the presidential elections, by the end of April The Agreement provides for a two-year transition and the reorganization of the Government to be led by a Prime Minister from the opposition. The other Congolese political and social actors, which refused to participate in the Dialogue and formed a new political platform, "Le Rassemblement", rejected the 18 October 2016 Agreement and decided to continue with their peaceful demonstrations. 23. Eager to maintain dialogue in the country, President Joseph Kabila requested the Congolese National Episcopal Conference (CENCO-Catholic Church) to continue consultation with the members of the Rassemblement. The negotiations conducted by the CENCO, led to an Agreement on 31 December 2016, which provides for, among others, a Prime Minister from the Rassemblement, establishment of a National Transition Follow-up Committee, organization of the presidential, national, local and legislative elections by December 2017 at the latest; ending prosecutions and the release of political prisoners. It should be noted that, the electoral process still face financial and logistical challenges which need to be addressed during the transition period, to allow the smooth organization of the elections. 24. Indeed, the current political tensions related to election issues seem to have defused down. However, insecurity continues to prevail in the provinces of the eastern part of the DRC, particularly in the Beni region, where several armed groups operate and massacres are frequently committed against civilians. The Congolese Armed Forces, supported by MONUSCO forces, continue their military operations to neutralize the combatants of the various armed groups. 25. The Assembly may wish to welcome the Agreements signed on 18 October 2016, as well as the Agreement signed later on 31 December In this context, the Assembly may wish to encourage the various Congolese political and social actors to work towards their effective implementation of the Agreements. The Assembly may also wish to commend the role played by President Sassou N Guesso, of the Republic of Congo, in facilitation of the peace talks among the Congolese stakeholders. The Assembly may further appeal to the stakeholders and Guarantors of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for DRC and the Region signed on 24 February 2013, in Addis Ababa, to take the necessary measures and redouble their efforts to ensure the effective implementation of all aspects of the Framework Agreement and more specifically to neutralize the combatants of armed groups operating in Eastern DRC. The Assembly may wish to appeal to the AU States and the international community at large, to continue providing financial and logistic support to the Government of the DRC, for the smooth organization of elections in the country. v. Libya 26. During the period under review, the security and humanitarian situation in Libya continued to deteriorate, while at the same time, the political divisions between the Presidency Council of the Government of National Accord (GNA) and the House of

9 Page 8 Representatives (HoR) have escalated. The efforts of the AU and the larger international community have focused on trying to bring the members of the two institutions to agree on full implementation of the Libyan Political Agreement of December Such implementation should include the submission by the Presidency Council of an inclusive new list of cabinet members, and for the HoR to endorse such a list, once it is submitted. The security situation in the country remains of grave concern, as independent militias under different commands, continue to challenge the legitimacy of the GNA and its Joint Forces. The prevailing insecurity impacts on the humanitarian and the overall socioeconomic situation in the country. The AU High Representative for Libya, former President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania, has continued his consultations with the relevant Libyan and international stakeholders on how to get a breakthrough in this crisis. On their part, the neighbouring countries of Libya have also intensified their efforts to assist in the stabilization of the situation in the country, and have convened their ninth and tenth ministerial meetings, in Niamey, Niger, and Cairo, Egypt, on 19 October 2016 and 21 January 2017, respectively. This is a mechanism established by the neighbouring countries to follow up on developments in Libya. The AU High Level Committee on Libya, with the participation of the neighbouring countries, also convened in Addis Ababa, at the level of Heads of State and Government, on 8 November This meeting recommended to the forthcoming Summit of the AU, to include the neighbouring countries of Libya as full members of the Committee. Subsequently, the Chair of the AU High Level Committee on Libya, President Sassou N Guesso of Congo, convened a follow-up meeting, in Brazzaville, on 27 January Both meetings of the AU High Level Committee considered the evolving situation in Libya and related international efforts, as well as developing an AU Roadmap for the resolution of the conflict in Libya. 27. In this regard, the Assembly may wish to reiterate the need for the convening of a meeting of Libyan stakeholders to address the issue of national reconciliation, in accordance with the Kigali Assembly decision of 2016, and request the Commission to finalise necessary modalities for the organisation of this meeting. The Assembly may wish to endorse the decision of the AU High Level Committee and decide to expand the Committee by including in its membership the neighbouring countries of Libya. vi. Mali/Sahel 28. During the period under review, the situation in Mali, and the Sahel in general continued to mobilize the efforts of the Malian stakeholders and the Commission. In Mali, the implementation of the Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in Mali continued despite the many challenges faced in the process. The Government has taken a number of measures, particularly with regard to the establishment of the interim authorities in the territorial communities of the northern part of the country. Local elections were organized on 20 November 2016, wherever the security conditions permitted. At the same time, it should be noted that, at the time of finalizing this report, preparations were still underway for the establishment of interim authorities in the northern regions of the country. However, this political process faces many challenges in some areas in the North. The divergences and the logic of disparities of the Movements still play a major obstacle for the political process.

10 Page Regarding the security, the period under consideration was marked by the continuation of complex terrorist attacks targeting civilians, Malian Armed Forces, troops and convoys of MINUSMA and the French force Barkhane. Furthermore, concern was also expressed about the continuing trend of the expansion of terrorist violence towards the central regions of Mali. The second half of the year was also marked by the efforts made by MINUSMA to implement its new mandate as contained in resolution 2295 (2016), adopted by the United Nations Security Council, on 29 June This Resolution gives the Mission a more robust posture in the face of the asymmetric threats and increases of strength in its uniformed personnel. As for the security and defence aspects of the Agreement, there has been notable progress, albeit still insufficient, in the establishment of the DDR programme and the Joint Operational Mechanism (JOM), with the establishment of the first mixed unit for Joint Patrols in Gao. On 18 January 2017, in a military camp in Gao, Mali experienced the deadliest terrorist attack on its soil. More than 80 lives of Malian soldiers and combatants from the Signatory Movements of the Agreement were lost. It is worth noting that, in the face of the terrorist threats in Mali and the Sahel, the AU continued its efforts to mobilize the regional efforts, within the framework of the Nouakchott Process. Thus, from 22 July to 3 August 2016, a Technical Assessment Mission (TAM) visited Mali, as part of the implementation of the decisions of the Nouakchott Process Summit of 18 December 2014, as well as the Conclusions of the First meeting of the Ministers of Defence, held in Bamako, on 4 September The aim was to identify ways and means of enhancing security cooperation in the fight against terrorism and transnational crime, including through the establishment of an Intervention Force to support MINUSMA in its stabilization efforts. At the time of finalizing this report, the Commission was undertaking consultations with Nouakchott Process countries to convene a ministerial meeting that will consider the report of the TAM, as well as the required documents with regard to the establishment of the Intervention Force. 30. The Assembly may wish to reiterate its support for the full implementation of the Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in Mali and urge the Malian parties to redouble their efforts to accelerate the implementation of the Agreement. The Assembly reaffirms its condemnation of the terrorist attack in Gao, Mali, on 18 January 2017, against a Camp hosting members of the Malian Armed Forces and armed movements, signatories of the Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in Mali, issuing from the Algiers Process, which caused dozens of deaths and injuries among those elements grouped in order to carry out Joint Patrols within the framework of the Joint Operational Mechanism provided for in the Agreement. The Assembly may also wish to reaffirm the importance of the Nouakchott Process within the framework of the AU Sahel Strategy and encourage the countries of the Process, with the support of the Commission, to ensure the regular execution of its activities, including the expeditious convening of the ministerial meeting to consider the findings of the Assessment Mission to Northern Mali. vii. Sudan/Darfur 31. During the period under review, Sudan held a National Dialogue, which commenced in October 2015 and concluded on 10 October 2016, in Khartoum, with the signing of a National Document, which drew elements from the reports of the six

11 Page 10 committees on the various issues discussed during the National Dialogue. President Omar al- Bashir, in his capacity as the Chair of the National Dialogue process, presided over the closing session of the General Assembly. The Heads of State of Chad, Egypt, Mauritania and Uganda also attended. On the occasion, President Al- Bashir stated that the signing of the National Document had not closed the doors on all those who would wish to join the process. Meanwhile, on 13 January 2017, the President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, issued an Executive Order partially lifting the trade and economic sanctions imposed on Sudan in 1997, for six-months and pledged his Government s commitment to continue high level policy engagement on the matter with the Government of Sudan (GoS). The Executive Order also states that after six months, provided Sudan sustains progress on the areas that they have been engaging on, the sanctions will be permanently revoked. In this regard, the Chairperson of the Commission, on 14 January 2016, issued a statement commending this decision and urged the Sudanese government to continue cooperation with the US administration to ensure the total lifting of these debilitating sanctions. The lifting of certain U.S sanctions comes as a result of a sustained effort of intensive bilateral and international engagements between the Unites States and Sudan on the one hand, and between the international community and the Unites States on the other. In this regard, the AU High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) and the Joint Approach committee on Sudan and South Sudan engaged the United States Government on several occasions regarding the lift of sanctions and debt relief. It should also be recalled that during its 26 th Ordinary Session of the Union in January 2016, the AU Heads of States and Government adopted a decision calling for lifting of sanctions on Sudan. 32. At the same time, the AUHIP undertook extensive consultations with the GoS, the Darfur armed movements and the Sudan opposition political parties. Subsequently, key Darfur armed movements also signed the Roadmap Agreement on 8 August 2016, which had already been signed by the Government on 21 March This was a breakthrough that could pave the way an inclusive National Dialogue. The situation in Darfur remains relatively quiet, due to the unilateral ceasefire declared by both the GoS and the armed movements. In the meantime, obstacles arose during mediation when the armed movements, in December 2016, re-opened numerous issues that had previously been agreed to. Although the facilitators presented balanced options, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and Sudan Liberation Movement Mini Minawe (SLM-MM) rejected the proposals. Several meetings of the Joint Working Group (JWG) were not able to make progress with regards to the Exit Strategy of the African Union Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), because there was no consensus between the UN, AU and the GoS on the areas that the mission should begin withdrawing from. Subsequently, the UN proposed to have a strategic review process in order to identify areas for withdrawal. In this context, it was proposed that a strategic assessment mission should be undertaken by the AU and the UN on the UNAMID operations, in order to facilitate the finalisation of the Exit Strategy process. 33. The Assembly may wish to urge the Government of Sudan for additional efforts to ensure inclusivity in the National Dialogue process, as well as encouraging the armed movements and the opposition political parties to take part in this national process. The Assembly may also wish to appeal to the US Government to lift all remaining sanctions

12 Page 11 on Sudan, which continue to negatively affect the civilians in the country. The Assembly may wish to commend the ongoing efforts to have a well-planned withdrawal of UNAMID that does not expose the civilians to insecurity. viii. Burundi 34. Given the intensity of the crisis that gripped Burundi in 2015 onto 2016, it can be highlighted that the general situation in Burundi has improved and remains calm. However, the human rights situation is still of deep concern. The persisting insecurity, targeted assassinations against political personalities and violations of human rights deserve attention and effective remedy. It should be noted that, on 1 January 2017, the Minister in charge of Water and Environment of Burundi was assassinated. Furthermore, the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) governing the deployment and operation of Human Rights Observers (HRO) and Military Experts (MEs) of the AU, has not yet been signed by the Government of Burundi and the AU Commission. Furthermore, the Government of Burundi, in December 2016, issued a statement to dissolve the oldest Human Rights League, ITEKA, in the country, on the ground that it was reporting wrong information regarding the situation in the country. In addition, the Government of Burundi, in December 2016, has announced its intention to get the Constitution and various laws relating to the media and civil society organizations amended. It should also be noted that, the economic situation in the country has been negatively affected with the sanctions imposed by the EU and other bilateral partners on Burundi. In this regard, most of the activities of the civil society organizations and the non-governmental organizations, as well as government activities funded by partners, have been negatively affected. 35. In conformity with the relevant decisions of the PSC and the Agreement reached during the visit of the AU High-level Delegation of Heads of State to Burundi in February 2016, to increase the number of AU personnel to 200, as of today, the AU Commission has deployed up 68 personnel, including 45 HROs and 23 MEs. The deployment of the HROs and MEs is hampered, inter alia, by financial difficulties and by non-signature of the MoU between the Government of Burundi and the AU Commission. During his visit to Bujumbura on January 2017, the Commissioner for Peace and Security, Amb. Smaïl Chergui, discussed the matter with the Government of Burundi and highlighted the difficult situation of the observers and experts in the absence of a Legal document, which is essential for their protection and the credibility of their work. The Foreign Minister of Burundi, informed the Commissioner for Peace and Security that a solution could be found soon. It should also be noted that the Inter-Burundian Dialogue, which is led by the East African Community (EAC) was suspended in November 2016, due to the non-acceptance of the Burundian Government of the inclusion of those condemned for the 2015 fail coup attempt. At the time of finalizing this report, the Inter-Burundian Dialogue, was expected to resume. 36. The Assembly may wish to urge the Government of Burundi and all other relevant Burundian stakeholders to fully participate to the Inter-Burundian Dialogue led by the EAC. The Assembly may further wish to urge the Government of Burundi to sign the MoU regarding the deployment of AU personnel and operation in Burundi. The

13 Page 12 Assembly may wish to appeal to the AU States to continue to support the economic recovery of Burundi and further appeal to the Government of Burundi to normalize its relationship with the international community for a quick socio-economic recovery of the country. The Assembly may also wish to call upon the Burundian Government and all Burundian stakeholders to adhere to the provisions of the Constitution of the country and the Arusha Agreement, the corner stone of peace in the country, in resolving their political differences, for the benefit of their country and the people of Burundi. The Assembly may wish to emphasize that the process of amending the Constitution of the country should be done in an inclusive way and in line with the rule of law. ix. Guinea-Bissau 37. During the period under review, Guinea-Bissau has been embroiled in political and institutional crisis arising from tensions and disputes between the President of the Republic, Prime Ministers and the People s National Assembly (ANP-Assembleia Nacional Popular), as well as within the ruling African Independent Party of Guinea Bissau-and Cape Verde (PAIGC). This led to the frequent paralysis and dissolution of four different governments resulting in political uncertainty and threats to the democratic future of the country. Meanwhile, the mediation efforts of ECOWAS, led by President Alpha Condé of the Republic of Guinea, with the participation of the representatives of AU, UN, EU, as well as the representatives of Angola, and Senegal, culminated in the signing of an Agreement on 14 October 2016, in Conakry, Guinea, aimed at ending the political crisis facing the country. The Agreement is composed by 10 points including: i) appointment of a consensual Prime Minister of confidence from the President of the Republic to led the government up to 2018 legislative elections; ii) appointment of an inclusive government, through a consensual and negotiated platform with political parties represented in the parliament, according to proportional representation principle; iii) the possibility of appointing an inclusive government based individual personalities and personalities from the civil society; iv) the inclusive government should implement a programme elaborated by the national dialogue table to be convened within 30 days from the appointment of the Prime Minister; v) Respect the existing principle of appointment of senior officials/organs of the country; vi) The elaboration and adoption of a national dialogue table and of a stability pact to be signed by the relevant stakeholders; vii) the technical and logistical support by ECOWAS, AU, CPLP, UN and EU for elaboration of a stability pact and its implementation plan; viii) the need to adopt an ECOWAS evaluation mechanism to guarantee the stability process; ix) a constitutional reform to be undertaken in the context of a wide national consultation; and x) the principle of integration into PAIGC of the 15 expelled deputies without preconditions, in accordance with the existing PAIGC s rules. 38. Subsequently, on 18 November 2016, President José Mario Vaz decided to appoint Mr. Umaro Sissoco Embalo as the new Prime Minister, on the grounds that the consultations undertaken after the Conakry Agreement, had failed to find a consensual Prime Minister. The ruling PAIGC immediately reacted to the appointment of the new Prime Minister accusing the President for violating the Conakry Agreement, as only a consensual Prime Minister, should be appointed according to that Agreement. At the

14 Page 13 time of finalizing this report, ECOWAS was facilitating the implementation of the Conakry Agreement with the support of the AU and UN. 39. In this regard, the Assembly may wish to welcome the Conakry Agreement and call on all political stakeholders to resolve their differences through inclusive dialogue and within the framework of the Constitution of the country, as well as in line with the Conakry Agreement of 14 October The Assembly also may wish to emphasize the critical importance of the role being played by the ECOWAS Mission in Guinea-Bissau (ECOMIB) in stabilizing the country, and call for joint efforts to support the mobilization of financial resources to support the ECOMIB operations in Guinea-Bissau. x. Western Sahara 40. The question of the unfinished task of the decolonization of Western Sahara has been of utmost concern to the AU, which has remained engaged in the diplomatic and political efforts at the international level, in order to secure its peaceful resolution, in full compliance with the principles enshrined in the AU instruments and the UN Charter. During the period under review and since the expulsion of an 84-strong civilian component of MINURSO from Western Sahara, only 25 officials were able to return in the context of the implementation of UNSC resolution 2285 on the return of MINURSO to the field. Within the UNSC, deep divisions remain on how to resolve this situation relative to the expiry of the 90 day deadline established by UNSC resolution 2285 for the return to full functionality of MINURSO. Furthermore, Morocco has been behind the flare up in August 2016, of tension in Al-Guarguarat, the narrow buffer strip in south-west Western Sahara, when Moroccan forces crossed the berm, in contravention of the 1991 Ceasefire Agreement. This action of Morocco prompted the deployment of military forces by the Frente POLISARIO, to the area. 41. The continued illegal exploitation of Western Sahara s natural resources, by foreign entities, including fishing grounds, is of grave concern to Africa. In this context, it is worth noting the importance of the verdict, issued on 21 December 2016, by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) regarding the agreements between the EU and Morocco, signed in 2012, on the mutual liberalization of the trade of agricultural and fishing products, which ruled that such agreements cannot apply to the territory of Western Sahara. The Court concluded that in view of the separate and distinct status guaranteed to the territory of Western Sahara in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and the principle of self-determination of peoples, these agreements are not applicable to the territory. The Court further underlined that Western Sahara must be regarded as a third party which may be affected by the implementation of the liberalization agreements, therefore, the EU-Morocco agreements should not impose any obligations nor confer any rights on third States without their consent. In this context, there is need for full respect of this verdict which constitutes a major contribution to the efforts to stop illegal exploration and exploitation of Western Sahara natural resources. 42. It should be noted that, despite the call by the AU, at its 26 th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union [Assembly/AU/Dec.598(XXVI)], held in January 2016, for the

15 Page 14 Crans Montana Forum to desist organizing the meeting in the occupied territory of Western Sahara, the Forum has planned to organize another meeting from 16 to 17 March The Assembly may wish to note with deep concern the continued impasse in the search for a solution to the conflict in Western Sahara and underline the urgent need for renewed international efforts to facilitate an early resolution of the conflict. In this respect, the Assembly may wish to reiterate its call on the UN General Assembly to determine a date for the holding of the self-determination referendum for the people of Western Sahara and protect the integrity of the Western Sahara as a non-self-governing territory from any act which may undermine it. The Assembly may wish to urge the UN Security Council to fully assume its responsibilities in restoring the full functionality of MINURSO as it is indispensable for overseeing the ceasefire and organizing the selfdetermination referendum in Western Sahara, as well as in addressing the issues of the respect of human rights and the illegal exploration and exploitation of the Territory s natural resources, in particular in line with the important judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union issued on 21 December 2016, on the arrangement between the EU and Morocco signed in 2012, on the mutual liberalization of the trade of agricultural and fishing products. The Assembly may further wish to reiterate its Declaration adopted at its 24 th and 26 th Ordinary Sessions, regarding the convening by the Crans Montana Forum, a Switzerland-based organization, of a meeting in the occupied territory of Western Sahara and call on the Crans Montana to desist from this activity. The Assembly may further wish to re-appeal to all African civil society organizations and other relevant actors to boycott any such event. III. IMPLEMENTATION OF THE AFRICAN PEACE AND SECURITY ARCHITECTURE (APSA) 44. During the period under review, sustained efforts have been deployed by the PSC, the Commission and the Regional Economic Communities/Regional Mechanisms for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution (RECs/RMs), with the support of civil society, the United Nations and other partners to further implement the APSA. It should be noted that most of the APSA components, namely, the Peace and Security Council (PSC), the Continental Early Warning System (CEWS), the Panel of the Wise and the African Standby Force (ASF), are functionally in place and working in synergy. However, both the African Standby Force and the transitional arrangement as constituted by the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises (ACIRC) need additional effort to render them more operationally effective. With regard to the Peace Fund, which remains the major gap in the APSA, significant progress has been made with the adoption by the July 2016 Kigali AU Summit of the report of the AU High Representative for the Peace Fund, Dr. Donald Kaberuka, providing concrete steps for the revitalization of the Peace Fund.

16 Page 15 a) Conflict Prevention 45. The implementation of the APSA has registered solid gains during the period under review, particularly, when it comes to the issue of conflict prevention. The Commission, the Peace and Security Council and RECS/RMs have been involved in conflict prevention in the DRC, and in post-election situations that turned violent or which had the potential for violence such as Gabon and The Gambia. Notwithstanding this progress, more needs to be done to focus on prevention and early interventions to early warning on potential threats and emerging peace and security challenges to the continent. Adequate funding is required to finance prevention measures particularly for post-conflict countries in order to avoid their relapse. 46. The growing synergy between the APSA and the African Governance Architecture (AGA) must continue to be deepened as demonstrated by the establishment of Interdepartmental Task Forces on Conflict Prevention and Post-Conflict Reconstruction (PCRD) and, with the PCRD Task Force undertaking a joint mission to CAR to assess post-conflict needs and responses. The Interdepartmental Task force on Conflict Prevention collaborates on election observer missions, preventative diplomacy missions, joint briefings to the Peace and Security Council and the early warning system. b) Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development 47. Evidently, as Africa intensifies its efforts to resolve conflicts and crises, the trend is towards countries emerging from conflict. In exiting from conflict, such countries require sustained support in order to accomplish the task of post-conflict, reconstruction and development. But then, there are challenges that continue to militate against successful accomplishment of this task, particularly lack of funding, lack of adequate technical and institutional capacity, as well as the need for more enabling political mobilization and will. c) The African Standby Force 48. Overall, the ASF has made progress in establishing its operational readiness and its enhancement process will continue through the implementation of the five-year Maputo Work Plan on the ASF ( ). Efforts are ongoing, by the Commission, to complement the information already provided by the Regions on the status of the pledged capabilities through a pending physical verification process of the pledged capabilities. The inauguration of the continental logistic base in Douala, thanks to the engagements and efforts of the Government of Cameroon, will take place in May d) African Capacity for the Immediate Response to Crises (ACIRC) 49. The African Capacity for the Immediate Response to Crises (ACIRC) has continued to enhance its capacity as a transitional mechanism in support of ASF efforts. In this vein, a Command Post-Exercise code-named Utulivu II was conducted in Bengo,

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