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General News
Kufuor says peace and security would be key agenda 2/1/2007
From Kwaku Osei Bonsu, GNA, Addis Ababa

Addis Ababa, Jan. 31, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor, new Chairman of the African Union (AU), says peace and security in the continent would be made the key agenda of his leadership. Top priority attention would be focused on finding solution to conflict situations in countries like Somalia, Sudan and Cote d'' Ivoire, he told Ghanaian Journalists, who accompanied him to the Eighth Ordinary Session of the AU''s Heads of State and Government at the Bole International Airport in the Ethiopian Capital, Addis Ababa, on Wednesday.

President Kufuor said he would also provide the necessary leadership guidance to ensure that through the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD), there was energy security in the region. He said a critical look would be taken at the continent''s water courses and thorough feasibility conducted on the networking of hydro-electricity dams, with a view to tapping energy into a pool. President Kufuor said it was time the NEPAD initiative was aggressively pushed to open up and build the infrastructure to hold Africa together.

He visited the AU Commission''s Secretariat, where he called on the Commissioners and Staff to use their expertise to support the political leadership to work out realistic plans to achieve the vision of the Union.

He said it was a challenge to all Africans to help to improve on the image of the region and to overcome the indignities of conflicts, poverty and diseases.

"It is the totality and combination of your efforts that would change the image", he said adding that they should work to priorities. "Africa needed to move on the economic and development front, we must establish ourselves in a way that would make the rest of the world, respect us as part of the human society."

Mr Alpha Konare, President of the AU Commission, pledged to work closely with President Kufuor and to co-operate with him to make his chairmanship of the Union, a major success.

He said they were preparing a dossier that would assist him with the necessary materials to lead the AU.

Drawing the curtains down on the AU Session on Tuesday night, President Kufuor declared that the days of long and flowering decisions without actions were gone.

"The world is not waiting for Africa. Africa must catch up and through the African Union with its NEPAD, we are resolved to catch up."

President Kufuor pointed out that he did not intend to invent the wheel or come up with any magical solutions to the challenges of the region as the AU has all the prescriptions enshrined in the Consultative Act and the various decisions taken by the Heads of States and Government.

"What is needed is the implementation of all these decisions to achieve our objectives, and this is what I dedicate my Chairmanship." He said with their support, he hoped to work for closer cooperation and unity among the peoples and nations for a United Africa.

"I urge all of us to leave here with not only a renewed determination for action but also the clear vision of how to operationalise the goals and aspirations we have committed ourselves to achieve."

Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi, earlier demanded that Africa as a matter of right must be given a permanent seat on the United Nations (UN) Security Council.Source:

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