António Guterres pledges deeper AU-UN cooperation to advance peace, security

Antonio Guterres

The United Nations has reaffirmed its commitment to deepen cooperation with the African Union to advance peace, security and development in the continent.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres made the pledge at a news briefing at the end of the 4th AU-UN Annual Conference on Wednesday.

Guterres said the conference was an opportunity for both organisations to explore areas of cooperation to better serve the people of Africa.

“Today, of the many topics that were discussed, I allow myself to concentrate on two.

“First, the COVID-19 pandemic. Africa has so far registered more than 2,200,000 cases and over 53,000 deaths.

“There is real hope that vaccines – in combination with other public health measures – will help to overcome the pandemic.

“But I reiterate my call for a COVID-19 vaccine to be a global public good, available to everyone, everywhere and particularly, available in Africa,” he said.

According to him, falling prices and low demand for commodity exports has denied most African countries the financial resources to adequately respond to the socio-economic impact of the pandemic.

He appealed for a “bold and coordinated international approach“ on debt relief efforts for African countries, that should include debt cancelation and meaningful increase in the financial support to African countries to fund their economic recovery.

“Second, we also discussed peace and security challenges.

“The UN strongly supports the flagship initiative of the AU on Silencing the Guns in Africa. My appeal for a global ceasefire is perfectly in line with the Silencing the Guns initiative,” he said.

To this end, the UN Chief noted that both organisations were working closely to restore lasting peace and security in the Central African Republic, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Libya.

Guterres said the UN and AU were also engaging with ECOWAS and other economic blocs in the continent on preventive diplomacy in countries holding elections.

“We also explored ways to further advance our calls for a global ceasefire,” he added.

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