COMESA Foreign Affairs Ministers Push for Resolution of Conflicts in the Region
COMESA Ministers of Foreign Affairs have lauded the resolution of the conflict in the Tigray region in Ethiopia and the renewed hope that Libya is getting back on track towards implementing components of the Ceasefire Agreement.
However, they expressed concern with the recently witnessed deadly escalation of fighting in Sudan where many people have been affected, displaced and key infrastructure damaged.
This was during their 18th meeting conducted today in Lusaka, Zambia which was opened by the Vice President of Zambia Mrs Mutale Nalumango and attended by 18 of the 21 Member States of the regional bloc.
Further, the resurgence and escalation of activities of the M23 Movement in the Great Lakes region was also discussed as an area of concern that needs much more to be done to resolve the issues.
In her statement, the Vice President commended the Ministers for allocating time to discuss issues of regional democracy, peace and security. She noted that no meaningful integration and sustainable development can be realized in the absence of peace.
“While Africa, and COMESA in particular is making strides in shaping a continent beaming with tremendous progress towards peace and restoration of power to civilian governments, the conflict in Sudan, is indeed regrettable,” she added. “Therefore, it is in COMESA’s interest to ensure that peace prevails at all times because instability anywhere on the continent is instability everywhere.”
She expressed hope that the recent efforts by other world, continental and regional bodies will help to find a lasting solution to the conflicts.
The VP noted that despite the high media publicity given to conflicts, the COMESA region has many achievements that have strengthened the regional economies and trade. She cited the recent launching of the Chipata-Mchinji One Stop Border Facility between Zambia and Malawi which is expected to boost regional trade.
The Ministers also reviewed the programmes under the Governance, Peace and Security Unit of the Secretariat and commended efforts to address root causes of conflict and recognising the impact of climate change on peace and security dynamics.
The ministers appreciated the peaceful conduct of elections in the region and called for the review of electoral processes to draw lessons and provide recommendations to consolidate democracy across the region are some of the positive strides to note.
COMESA Secretary General Chileshe Kapwepwe outlined some of the key programmes being implemented such as the silencing of the guns, enhancing youth participation in governance, support to Member States to strengthen their anti-money laundering efforts and the robust early warning system (COMWARN).
“The positives recorded in the region gives us more incentive to reinvigorate our collective determination to address the issues of conflicts and insecurity in our region because these inevitably accentuates the effects of such global threats,” she Kapwepwe said.
The report of the Ministers’ meeting will be presented to the 22nd COMESA Heads of State and Government Summit to be held in Lusaka, Zambia on Thursday 06 June 2023.