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AU’s 27th Summit to Augment Union Member Ties and Integration | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Photo call before the official opening of the 27th African Union (AU) Summit in Kigali on July 17,2016. AFP

Kigali-Effectively kicking off the activities of the 27th African Union’s summit in Rwanda’s capital Kigali, participants announced that the summit is chiefly aimed at bolstering integration and merger among union members.

The Kigali summit deals with key topics such as free trade and AU commission elections. Celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, women empowerment was also one of the main topics broached at the summit.

Diplomatic sources highlighted that the summit’s closed session discussed three paramount subjects that encompassed African integration, the means to concluding negotiations on establishing a free African trade zone and the U.N.-concerning developments on the current AU commission reform and expansion.

Speaking at the summit’s opening session, Rwandan President Paul Kagame stressed the unity of African states and that this year’s summit proves the solidarity of African people and brings about the possibility of finding a peaceful solution to any issue faced by the union.

Kagame said that the African continent, united, has so much to offer the world.

“Then unity of our continent with an emphasis on integration among other things should never be a subject to preconditions or exceptions because lasting solutions always involve everyone,” said Kagame.

“We meet here as the African Union to discuss serious business; beginning with a focus on the rights of Africa’s women and this matter is on the agenda for good reason. If men and women do not stand in solidarity, then we are going to come up short across the board.”

“We will also address urgent threats to peace and security and elect new leadership for our organization. Good ideas were discussed yesterday on financing the African Union. We should be the ones to pay for activities in which everyone has a stake.”

“This puts responsibility and ownership in our hands and we are capable of it and we were shown how to do so and I urge us to move forward with the required political will without delay.”

“We need to start doing things differently and better. If Africa’s challenges are treated as routine it means we have accepted to be held back by them forever. We must all reject that future.”

“An important change in the decision to organize the summit in a way that allows Africa to concentrate on its priorities with fewer distractions in the corridors and lobby’s leads us to thank the chairperson of the Au-Summit, President Idriss Deby and the chairperson of the commission Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma for the business-like manner in with which they have managed this process from the beginning,” Kagame added.