Peacekeeping: July 3, 2002

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The Organization of African Unity (OAU) assistant secretary-general Said Djinnit told the press on 1 July that there was broad consensus among African foreign ministers on setting up a standby peace-keeping force, which was expected to form part of the envisaged peace and security council of the 53-nation African Union (AU). The AU, loosely modeled on the European Union, is to be launched on 9 July. African leadership has yet to decide on the structure and number of such a continental peace-keeping force, with some countries arguing for a more "robust" unit with direct powers to intervene.

The leaders of the world's largest industrialized nations agreed on 28 June to provide technical and financial assistance so that by 2010, African countries and regional and sub-regional organizations would be able to undertake peace support operations in accordance with the United Nations charter for an African peacekeeping force. The leaders of the eight most important industrialized nations in the world were committed to work with African partners to develop a plan for such a force by 2003. South Africa's acting Foreign Minister Zola Skweyiya said that the African Union (AU) will not merely be a continuation of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) under a different name. Time will tell. - Adam Geibel


 


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