ADDIS ABABA, Feb. 6 (Xinhua) -- The 36th ordinary session of the African Union (AU) Executive Council, which comprises ministers of the 55-member pan-African bloc, opened on Thursday in the framework of the 33rd AU summit at the AU headquarters in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa.
In the two-day session, the AU Executive Council is expected to consider the draft agenda and the draft decisions and declarations of the assembly with appropriate recommendations for consideration by the AU heads of states, whose session is scheduled to take place from 9 to 10 Feb.
The AU summit is held under the theme of the year 2020, "Silencing the Guns: Creating Conducive Conditions for Africa's Development."
As a flagship project of Agenda 2063, a blueprint for prosperous and peaceful Africa by 2063, "Silencing the guns by 2020" was adopted by the AU heads of state during the 50th anniversary of the then Organization for African Union (OAU) now African Union (AU) in 2013.
Conflict is one of the biggest challenges for the implementation of Agenda 2063, and with the vision of "Silencing the Guns," it was aimed to end all wars, civil conflicts, gender-based violence, violent conflicts and preventing genocide in the continent by 2020.
Reiterating that conflicts are still challenges on the continent, the Chairperson of the AU Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, underlined on the need to build peace through implementation of innovative way, such as development and solidarity.
The Chairperson has noted that post-election disputes are also still great concern, despite organization of fair and free elections in Africa.
He has urged efforts that look into the root causes of conflicts and moves that may affect the peace and stability, and also to take other innovative measures, rather than tending to military solution.
"We need to build peace in a different manner by implementing innovative solutions which confer a degree of relativity to military solution by offsetting them with measures from other areas, particularly development and all in solidarity. And I want to stress solidarity," the Chairperson has noted.
Expressing concern over post-election disputes in Africa, Mahamat said that "post-electoral dispute burdened political and social climate."
"The year 2020 will be in a number of partnership meetings at summit level. But, beyond the material organization of these meetings the problem of, the assessment of the content, the definition the strategic vision participation requires the attention of your council," he said, adding that "a clear orientation on the matter is necessary in order to enable the commission and member states speak in one voice a guarantee for credibility."
In her opening remarks, the Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Vera Songwe, has expressed concern over the escalations of armed conflicts at its highest in the last two decades.
Noting that the number of countries in conflict also alarmingly high, and the number of armed conflicts has escalated from 7 to 21 in 2005 to 2018, the Executive Secretary underlined on the need to raise the clarion call for the voiceless, for those maimed by the tools of war.
"Compared to 2005 when there were only six countries in active conflict on the continent and 7 armed conflicts, 15 years later and 10 years after the Union declared the need to silence the guns we have outperformed ourselves for the worse. The number of countries with armed conflicts has risen to 17. So, an over three-fold increase. From 6 to 7, that is almost 300 percent increase," Songwe has noted.
Egypt has been serving the rotating chairmanship of the African Union (AU) since last year, and speaking at the opening of the AU Executive Council session, Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, emphasized on the need to further consolidate efforts for Africa's presence in the international arena.
"I would like also to insist on the importance of coordinating on the position of African member states on the international arenas, especially when it comes to international candidatures in the UN," he said.
"We have managed to succeed in imposing our position for some, for many years and now we need to continue to preserve our achievements and to consolidate our position in our presence in the international arena. And this will only be done through the enhancement of our coordination and our common position," the minister added.