-Liberia gets Peace and Security Council post
George Weah over the weekend attended his first summit of the African Union (AU) after he became President of Liberia on Monday, January 22 following a historic transfer of power succeeding Liberia and Africa’s first democratically elected female President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
Weah entered the Mandela (Plenary) Hall in the New Conference Center at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia as the newest member of that continental body. He was there to attend the 30th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of AU, which officially opened on Sunday, January 28.
However, Weah’s maiden appearance as Liberia’s new President was not as euphoric as that of President Sirleaf, who had an elaborate ceremony held in her honor when she attended her maiden AU summit in 2006.
Lead by eminent women on the African continent including Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who walked with Mr. Weah, the Liberian president’s appearance sends a clear message of the continental body reverting back to the status quo of only male participants.
The summit, which is being held under the theme: “Winning the Fight against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation,” brought together all the Heads of State and Government from the 55 African member states.
The news of President Weah attending the AU summit emerged when Presidential Press Secretary Sam Mannah, in a release, made it known that the President was off to Addis Ababa for the occasion.
President Weah joined his colleagues to deliberate on the different items on the agenda, including the report of the Executive Council; the annual report of the chairperson of the commission for the period from January to December, 2017; and the report on the implementation of the assembly declarations, including the one on the solemn commitment on the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM).
The AU leaders also deliberated on the progress of the implementation of Agenda 2063, according to a dispatch from the Head of Information Division, Esther Azaa Tankou.
“They will consider the reports of the President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah El Sisi, who is also the President of the Peace and Security Council (PSC) on the activities of the council as well as the state of peace and security in Africa,” the dispatch said.
“The report of the PSC on the implementation of the AU master roadmap of practical steps to silence the guns in Africa by year 2020; the report of Denis Sassou Nguesso, President of the Republic of Congo and Chairperson of the High Level Committee on Libya, among others,” the dispatch added.
The opening ceremony, the dispatch said, feature among others, the keynote address of the outgoing chairperson, President of Guinea, Alpha Conde; and speeches by the chairperson of the AU Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, and the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Manuel Guterres.
Also making a statement at the ceremony was President of the State of Palestine and chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Mahmoud Abbas, and the Secretary General of the League of Arab States, Ahmed Aboul-Gheit.
High moments of the official opening of the AU Summit included the election of the new Bureau of the Assembly of the AU and the new chairperson of the AU for 2019.
Also in attendance were officials of the AU Commission and other organs, representatives from partner organizations, as well as members of the diplomatic corps.
Meanwhile, Liberia has been elected as a member of the AU’s Peace and Security Council (PSC). The country was elected by 51 votes out of 55 by the Executive Council of the AU at its 32nd Session .
After the election, Information Minister-designate Len Eugene Nagbe quoted Foreign Minister Gbehzongar M. Findley that Liberia’s position on mass illicit migration by African youths to Europe is that this perilous situation can only be mitigated by investment in skills training, entrepreneurial capacity support and general mainstreaming of youth related issues in national and international policy agendas.
“Foreign Minister Findley hits the ground running with a representation of the country at the Executive Council of the 32nd Ordinary Session of the AU in Addis Ababa,” Nagbe said on social media.
While the President was away, the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Nathaniel McGill, acted as chair of the cabinet, and coordinated its affairs in consultation with Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor.