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General News of Saturday, 28 February 2004

Source: GNA

African Stand-by Force to be established in five


From, Patrick A. Firempong, GNA Special Correspondent, Sirte

Sirte, Feb.28, GNA - African leaders have agreed to the establishment of the African Stand-by Force based on the five regional groupings of the continent, President John Agyekum Kufuor said in Sirte, Libya on Saturday.

"This is to ensure that we will not be caught flat-footed if there is any problem," he said in an interview with newsmen at the end of the two-day second extra-ordinary Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU).

The Summit was on Agriculture and Water as well as a Common Defence and Security Policy for Africa. The five regional groupings are the countries in the North, West, East, Central and Southern parts of the Continent.

On financing of the Forces, President Kufuor said the The AU Commission would work out details.

President Kufuor said the leaders had fruitful discussions on the topics and asked the AU Commission to study the problems related to the issues in-depth and submit periodic reports on progress made to the AU Assembly.

He said such decisions were taken because the issues were very basic to Africa's development, being tackled through the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD).

"The AU Commission is taking the proposals and decisions back to prepare the details and report to any future Summit with the progress made and if there are any problems, the Commission would bring them back for the African leaders to consider", President Kufuor said. He said Ghana agreed on all the major decisions taken at the Summit that were geared towards the development of the Continent.

'No resources syndrome' should not affect establishment of African Stand-by Force-Akufo Addo

From: Patrick A. Firempong, GNA Special Correspondent, Sirte.

Sirte, Feb 28, GNA- Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Minister of Foreign Affairs on Saturday appealed to African leaders not to allow the 'no resources syndrome' to affect the implementation of decisions of the Sirte Declaration on a Common African Defence and Security. He said the establishment of an African Stand-by Force was a good idea and feasible, therefore, the leaders should mobilize resources towards the implementation and not to allow the "no resources syndrome" to effect the maintenance of peace on the Continent.

Nana Akufo-Addo was speaking to newsmen in an interview during the just-ended two-day second extraordinary meeting of the Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU) on Agriculture and water as well as a Common Defence and Security Policy for Africa.

The Foreign Minister said the policy had to be put into action, adding" I hope our development partners would assist but we have to take the initiative to fund the policy to maintain peace on our own".

"It is time to free our people from conflicts for them to develop their countries" he added. On the Summit, Nana Akufo-Addo said important decisions were taken and with the seriousness on the part of the leaders on the two issues, they managed to find a common platform to discuss the issues in a congenial atmosphere. 28 Feb. 04