The United Nations-African Union Joint Task Force on Peace and Security held its twenty-first consultative meeting via virtual platform on 5 May.
The meeting took note of the progress made by the partnership between the United Nations (UN) and the African Union (AU), including the exchange of knowledge and expertise, and discussed the peace and security developments in Africa as well as the repercussions of the conflict in Ukraine on the continent.
The AU Commission and the UN Secretariat were represented by Commissioner Bankole Adeoye (Political Affairs, Peace and Security), and Under-Secretaries-General Rosemary DiCarlo (Political and Peacebuilding Affairs), Jean-Pierre Lacroix (Peace Operations), Atul Khare (Operational Support), Parfait Onanga-Anyanga (Special Representative of the Secretary-General to the African Union) and Martha Pobee (Assistant Secretary-General for Africa).
The Joint Task Force expressed grave concern over the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the conflict in Ukraine on the continent. The meeting noted the significant increase in energy and food prices as well as those of other commodities worldwide, including Africa, and the negative effects particularly felt by the most vulnerable. This is in addition to an estimated 346 million Africans who are already severely food insecure. It called on international partners to ensure that their commitments to support the peace, security, developmental and humanitarian needs of Africa are upheld.
The Joint Task Force underscored the need for a timely return to constitutional order in Burkina Faso, Chad, Guinea and Mali. The meeting took note of the ECOWAS Communiqué of 27 April 2022 on the situation in Burkina Faso and Guinea, and further underscored the need for the African Union, ECOWAS and the United Nations to continue to dialogue with the transitional authorities in order to reach a political settlement. It also reiterated the need to ensure the full respect of the rule of law and human rights by the de facto authorities and expressed the readiness of the two organizations to accompany said countries towards a peaceful and inclusive transition for the rapid restoration of constitutional order.
The Joint Task Force took note of the on-going discussions between the Malian authorities and ECOWAS on the duration of the transition. The Local Follow-up Committee on the Political Transition, which includes the United Nations and the African Union, is actively working to help both sides to come to an agreement. The two organizations agreed to coordinate efforts to deepen the progress made by the Malian authorities and other stakeholders in implementing the Transition Plan as well as the recommendations of the Assises nationales de la refondation and the Peace Agreement. They also stressed the need for the Malian Armed Forces to strictly abide by Mali’s international human rights obligations in the conduct of counter-terrorism operations and called for swift and transparent investigations into all allegations of human rights violations.
On Chad, they agreed that the inclusive national dialogue must be prioritized as it constitutes a historic opportunity to lay the foundations for sustainable peace through the resolution of longstanding issues. They called on the transitional authorities and all Chadian stakeholders to engage in this dialogue in good faith and in a most inclusive manner, and encouraged international partners to provide financial support for the transition to complement the progress made with regard to the transitional milestones and national efforts to address delicate factors.
Expressing grave concern over the security situation in the Sahel, which is increasingly undermining the political stability of the region, the Task Force reiterated its strong support to the G5 Sahel and its Joint Force. The two organizations discussed the status of a joint assessment, to be carried out together with ECOWAS and the G5 Sahel under the leadership of former President Issoufou of Niger, in order to identify new and creative ways to address the multifaceted security and governance challenges.
The Joint Task Force discussed on-going efforts to support the Libyan authorities in promoting the holding of national elections, the implementation of the ceasefire agreement and the departure of foreign forces. The two organizations also committed to continue to work closely to support the national reconciliation process in the country, in accordance with international standards and the principles of transitional justice.
On the Central African Republic, the two organizations welcomed the holding of the Republican Dialogue from 21 to 27 March 2022 and called on all national stakeholders to promote inclusive dialogue, including the creation of favourable conditions for peaceful, democratic and credible local elections in 2022/23. They also welcomed the opening of the first trial of the Special Criminal Court and further recognized efforts made towards the operationalization of the Truth, Justice, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission and called on all stakeholders to continue to support its mandate. They deplored the continued human rights violations committed by all parties against the civilian population, especially minorities, and emphasized the need to foster accountability.
The Joint Task Force called on the parties to the conflict in northern Ethiopia to build on the recent positive momentum and undertake steps towards a durable ceasefire and dialogue process. The meeting highlighted the need for further concrete action to improve humanitarian access across northern Ethiopia through the sustained delivery of relief supplies, fuel and money, among others, as well as the restoration of public services such as banking, electricity and telecommunications. The Joint Task Force reiterated its full support to the AU High Representative for the Horn of Africa, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, in his mediation efforts. The meeting reiterated its support to the AU’s efforts to facilitate a mutually beneficial trilateral agreement on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam project.
On Somalia, the Joint Task Force welcomed the establishment of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) and strongly condemned the 3 May 2022 Al-Shabaab attack on an ATMIS base. They paid tribute to AMISOM, stressing its significant achievements and the sacrifices made by its personnel. The Joint Task Force further underscored the importance of predictable and sustainable funding for ATMIS as well as the resourcing of the Somali security forces and also urged partners to urgently commit funds to this endeavour. In this regard, the two organizations agreed to meet with ATMIS troop and police-contributing countries to discuss the capacities and capabilities required to implement mandated tasks. The Joint Task Force also agreed that technical work on benchmarking, as mandated by Resolution 2628 (2022), should commence in the near future. Furthermore, it welcomed the progress made so far with regard to the electoral process and called for the finalization of activities towards the holding of a peaceful and credible presidential election without further delay.
On Sudan, the two organizations encouraged all Sudanese stakeholders to continue engaging in meaningful dialogue to reach an inclusive, peaceful and lasting solution to the crisis geared towards a democratic and inclusive transition. They welcomed the renewed efforts of the United Nations, the African Union and the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development in facilitating negotiations between the Sudanese parties. The meeting condemned the recurrence of violence targeting protestors and also expressed concern over the security situation in Darfur. Consequently, it called for the implementation of the security arrangements provided for under the Juba Peace Agreement and the National Plan for the Protection of Civilians without further delay.
Regarding Mozambique, the meeting took note of the on-going military deployments by the Southern African Development Community and Rwanda to enhance the Government’s counterinsurgency operations in the Cabo Delgado province. It agreed on the need to deploy multipronged and coordinated political, developmental and security responses to alleviate the humanitarian crisis and to respond to the myriad of challenges in Cabo Delgado and its neighbouring provinces.
The next statutory meeting of the Joint Task Force will be hosted by the African Union Commission on a date to be agreed upon by both organizations.