Briefing update on situation in the Horn of Africa

Briefing update on situation in the Horn of Africa

Date | 15 June 2023

Tomorrow (15 June), the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) will convene its 1158th session to receive briefing update on the situation in the Horn of Africa. The briefing is expected to focus on the conflict in Sudan and its regional implication, and the implementation of the Pretoria Comprehensive Cessation of Hostilities Agreement in Ethiopia.

The session commences with opening statement from Sophia Nyamudeza, Permanent Representative of Zimbabwe to the AU and Chairperson of the PSC for the month of June, while Bankole Adeoye, AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS) is expected to make remarks. Olusegun Obasanjo, Nigeria’s former President and AU High Representative for the Horn of Africa will brief members of the PSC. The representatives of Ethiopia, the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Secretariat, the United Nations (UN), and the European Union are also expected to deliver statements during the session.

On Sudan

The last time PSC met on the situation in Sudan was at its 1156th session on 27 May, which was held at the level of Heads of State and Government. In that session, the PSC adopted the AU Roadmap for the Resolution of the Conflict in Sudan that identifies six priority areas for AU engagement towards silencing the guns in Sudan.

Coming on the heels of 14th ordinary session of IGAD Heads of State and Government, held on 12 June in Djibouti, PSC members are likely to be interested to be briefed on the major outcomes of the summit and how it reframes diplomatic efforts for peace in Sudan. It has emerged from the summit that IGAD adopted a new roadmap for peace in Sudan whose action plans include to expand the IGAD High-Level delegation for Peace in Sudan, which was formed at the 40th extraordinary IGAD summit, held on 16 April, to give space for Ethiopia and establish a quartet with Kenya assigned with the role of chairing the quartet. Kenya’s President William Ruto, who is the chair of the quartet, also announced the plan to convene a face-to-face meeting between the quartet and the leaders of the belligerents within ten days.

This plan involves an exercise in claiming and asserting leadership role by IGAD in the search for resolution the new conflict in Sudan. In doing so, this plan, while not opposed to the US-Saudi or the AU initiatives, seeks to establish another platform and peace process. This peace processes, if not rationalised with other existing or emerging processes under US-Saudi or the AU, will be the third peace process. It would thus have the effect of not only multiplication of processes but also if successful can displace the AU’s Roadmap and the envisaged roles of the Expanded Mechanism as well as its Core Group.

It is to be recalled that the 20 April High-Level meeting convened under the auspices of the Chairperson of the AU Commission established the Expanded Mechanism to serve as the main platform to coordinate and consolidate international responses towards the conflict. As the Mechanism is so expanded in its nature, a ‘Core Group’ with smaller number of actors was established pursuant to the AU Roadmap for the Resolution of the Conflict in Sudan for effective action. If conflict and competition between the two processes is to be avoided, there is a need for the PSC to revise the AU Roadmap.

In terms of the regional implications, the lack of progress in the diplomatic efforts for containing the war makes it increasingly worrisome to neighbouring countries. On 15 June, Sudan marks the second month of the conflict, leaving 25 million people – about half of the population of the country – in need of humanitarian assistance. (See below the infographic on the humanitarian consequences of the conflict).

Infographic 1: Humanitarian crisis of the conflict in Sudan and attacks on civilian infrastructures


Despite plethora of diplomatic initiatives to end the conflict, the conflict has continued unabated, causing enormous suffering to civilians and damage to the state infrastructure. Thus far, nearly a dozen ceasefire declarations and agreements have been announced. Some of these ceasefires brought brief respite, allowing evacuation of diplomats and foreign nationals and limited flow of aid, but almost all of the ceasefire initiatives have failed to take hold, including the most recent ceasefire brokered by Saudi Arabia and the US on 9 June.

Infographic 2: Timeline of AU engagement and ceasefire initiatives

Source: Amani Africa’s tracker of diplomatic efforts on Sudan conflict

The impact of the ongoing conflict in Sudan will not be limited to the country, but also has the potential of convulsing the wider region given the geographic location of the country that borders seven countries, most of which are in fragile context. It is within this light that the agenda of tomorrow’s session is framed although the ripple effects of the conflict will be strongly felt even beyond the Horn of Africa, particularly in those countries which borders Sudan to the west, namely Central African Republic (CAR) and Chad.

The ripple effect of the conflict could manifest at least in three ways. The first is in terms of the refugee crisis that the conflict triggered, placing strain on the neighboring countries’ overstretched resources that are grappling with their own humanitarian crisis. IOM, UNHCR and government sources provide that around 476,811 people have fled to neighboring countries as of 4 June, some of them are in fact people displaced by internal crisis in their own countries. The influx of refugees to the neighboring states may fuel ethnic tensions in some context. The disruption of cross border trade because of the conflict is also resulting in food price increases in some countries such as South Sudan, Chad, and CAR.

Infographic 3: Number of people fleeing to neighboring countries

Source: IOM, Sudan Response Situation Update, 6 June 2023

Second, the conflict in Sudan not only risks a spillover into surrounding countries but also could morph into a regional conflict with the high possibility of dragging in its neighbors into the conflict. For the time being, most of the neighboring states seem to have adopted a neutral posture and even some of them offering mediation between the warring parties, but this could change as the conflict becomes protracted and spread closer to their borders. The controversy between Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and the border dispute between Ethiopia and Sudan over al-Fashaga (a contested territory controlled by Sudan during the Tigray conflict) are some of the dynamics raising the fear of regional spillover. For South Sudan, the conflict has direct economic consequences, which is dependent on Sudan for its oil export – the main source of revenue for the country.

Sudan is also a country where Islamist movements are very active. As a country that in the past hosted the late Al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and sharing a border with Sahel, a state collapse in Sudan will create a vacuum that would be most attractive to terrorist groups both from the Sahel and Horn of Africa and outside of Africa as well.

As the expansion of the conflict towards Darfur looms large, the immediate spillover risk could be for countries west of Sudan, particularly Chad and CAR. West Darfur’s El Geneina, which is very close to the border with Chad, have already experienced the most deadly violence in recent days, raising the spectre of genocidal violence particularly targeting non-Arab communities. The cross-border ethnic dynamics between Sudan and Chad and the history of cross-border raids during the Darfur conflict decades ago; the presence of fluid non-state actors in CAR, Chad, and Libya; the involvement of various Sudanese armed groups in the conflict in Libya; as well as the reported presence of the Wagner group in CAR and its alleged support to the RSF are likely to increase the chance of the regionalization of the conflict.

Third, Sudan’s conflict risks proliferation of and easy access to illicit arms and weapons in the neighboring countries, more so in the context of porous borders. Sudan ranks second among its regional neighbor with over three million estimated firearms. According to sources, 2.7 million small arms and light weapons were estimated to circulate outside of state-controlled stockpiles. The ongoing conflict would create fertile condition for the smuggling of firearms to neighboring countries with the possibility of unleashing Libya-like situation where the flood of arms from that country significantly changed the security landscape of the continent for the worse by plunging the Sahel into hotbed of terrorism. Beyond countries in the region, protracted conflict in Sudan is also likely to ignite proxy war involving regional and international powers.

On Ethiopia

The signing of the Pretoria Comprehensive Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CoHA) constituted a turning point in bringing to a halt the deadliest war that was raging in northern Ethiopia. Developments since the signing of this agreement on 2 November 2022 indicate that active hostilities involving the signatory parties have come to an end. Follow up steps for the implementation of some of the key elements relating to cessation of hostilities such as the convening of the senior military commanders (which was held on 7 November hosted in Nairobi, Kenya) was held and the process of the handover of heavy weaponry and the deployment of Ethiopian Federal forces to Tigray have largely been undertaken.

As envisaged in the Pretoria Agreement, the AU working with the parties elaborated the terms of reference of the monitoring, verification and compliance mechanism. Subsequently, the Monitoring Verification and Compliance Mechanism (MVCM) comprising the Team of African Experts (Led by Maj. Gen. Stephen Radina from Kenya, the AU-MVCM includes Colonel Rufai Umar Mairiga of Nigeria and Colonel Teffo Sekole of South Africa) and Liaison Officers of the Parties was deployed to Mekele and launched on 29 December 2022. In the second joint Committee meeting of the MVCM convened by the AU on 24 May, the Committee underscored ‘the need to accelerate the demobilization and reintegration of the Tigray armed combatants’, and ‘to enhance the safety and protection of civilians by facilitating the steady return of internally displaced persons and refugees to the affected areas’ in line with the CoHA and the subsequent Nairobi Declaration of the Senior Commanders of 7 November 2023. In the light of the continued need for the work of the MVCM, the AU extended the mandate of the mechanism for further six months period until the end of December 2023.

The implementation of the Pretoria Agreement and restoring relations between Tigray and Federal authorities continues to show remarkable progress. One of the major developments towards the stabilization of the Tigray region and laying the foundation for restoring normalcy was the establishment of the Tigray Interim Regional Administration (IRA) on 17 March 2023. Federal Parliament removed the designation of the TPLF as terrorist organization on 22 March 2023 and federal authorities dropped criminal charges against TPLF leaders.

While the pace and sustained implementation of the Pretoria Agreement and notably the commitment of the parties to the peace agreement have stunned many both within and outside Ethiopia, not surprisingly, implementation has not been without impediments. Despite the withdrawal of Eritrean forces from many parts of Tigray in accordance with Pretoria Agreement, there have been various reports of not just their continued presence in some parts of Tigray but involvement in the perpetuation of violence. Tigray IRA President, Getachew Reda, on 20 May accused Eritrean forces of blocking AU monitors from carrying out their monitoring activities in certain parts of Tigray. There is also the issue of the continued occupation by Amhara forces of the contested Western Tigray. On 23 May, thousands of people have staged protest in Tigray to demand the return of people displaced by the war there and the withdrawal of outside forces in accordance with the Pretoria Agreement.

The agreement outlines other guarantees, including the protection of civilians’ from violations; the resumption of public services in the region; the unobstructed flow of humanitarian supplies to Tigray; and a provision affirming that the two parties will facilitate the return of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees to the region. While there are positive developments in this respect including the resumption of services that were disconnected during the two years war cutting Tigray off from access to basic needs and the rest of the world, progress in the provision of the requisite support to war affected people and in the rehabilitation of their lives and livelihoods to facilitate return of IDPs remains slow and unsatisfactory to the expectations and demands of the conditions facing war affected people.

Another setback to the implementation of Pretoria Agreement and in the normalisation of relations between Tigray and Federal authorities is the decision on 13 May 2023 of the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) rejecting the TPLF’s request to restore its legal registration as a political Party, which was cancelled in January 2021 in the context of the designation of TPLF as terrorist organization after the outbreak of war. The TPLF and Tigray’s IRA denounced the decision, characterising it as being contrary to the Pretoria Agreement and developments since then.

Despite these various challenges and setbacks, the parties to the Pretoria Agreement continue to display commitment to follow through the implementation and build on the progress made so far. In this respect, one important positive recent development was the visit by the President of the Tigray IRA to the Amhara region on 11 June which, according to the President, was ‘as part of the efforts to address challenges to peace.’ One area that requires the most urgent attention for sustaining momentum in restoring normalcy in conflict affected areas including Tigray is the pace of implementation of rehabilitation and reconstruction programs which are key for delivering peace dividends to conflict affected populations. Also not any less important is ensuring that humanitarian assistance that is disrupted due to the reported widespread diversion of aid is restored and those in desperate need of support receive the much needed aid while those responsible for diversion are held accountable.

The expected outcome of tomorrow’s session is a communique. In relation to Sudan, PSC is expected to take note of IGAD’s 14th ordinary session of Heads of State and Government, held on 12 June in Djibouti. PSC may welcome the decision of the summit to expand IGAD Troika on Sudan and establish the quartet to lead the mediation effort in Sudan. In light of the decision of the summit, PSC may take a decision to adjust AU’s role with a focus on supporting the IGAD initiative, and to this end, it may request the AU Commission to designate an AU envoy that is fully dedicated to the Sudan file and provides the leadership for AU’s engagement in supporting the peace process. PSC may also task the AU Commission to reorganize the Expanded Mechanism to become the platform that facilitates coordination and information exchange among the countries neighbouring Sudan and for mobilizing support from the wider membership of the AU. It may also request the Commission to update the AU Roadmap for the Resolution of the Conflict in Sudan with a focus on active engagement of the neighbouring countries while securing their neutrality vis-à-vis the two fighting sides. In relation to the regional implication of the conflict, PSC is expected to express its concern over the spillover risks of the conflict in Sudan to the neighboring states and the wider region. Cognizant of this, the PSC may stress the need for devising strategies on how to contain the multifaceted implications of the conflict in Sudan to the neighboring countries, the Horn of Africa region and beyond. In this regard, the PSC may follow-up on the initiative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission to dispatch emissaries to neighbouring states and the Horn of Africa region to commend the countries of the region for their restraint thus far and to encourage them to refrain from taking sides in the current conflict. The PSC may also commend neighbouring countries who allowed access to Sudanese who are fleeing the fighting and seeking refuge in the neighbouring countries. It may also request the AUC to facilitate support from within the continent and beyond for helping the neighbouring countries in their efforts to welcome and host Sudanese refugees. The PSC may call for the fighting parties to extend full cooperation for the IGAD peace plan and may task the AUC to also focus on supporting the efforts of civilian actors in Sudan to play active role in the Sudan peace processes. On the Ethiopia peace process, the PSC may welcome the significant progress made in the implementation of the Pretoria Agreement and the firm commitment that the parties have continued to display for sustaining progress despite challenges they are facing. It may commend the parties for the restoration of essential services, flow of humanitarian aid, TPLF’s turnover of heavy weapons and the establishment of the Tigray IRA. The PSC may also commend the high-level panel under the leadership of Olusegun Obasanjo. The PSC may call on the AU to continue its support for the implementation of CoHA and encourage the parties to remain committed to sustaining the progress they have made so far. The PSC may encourage the parties to handle the issue of reinstatement of the political party status of TPLF by dialogue and in accordance with the spirit of the CoHA. It may call for further efforts of the parties particularly in meeting the expectations of those affected by the war through speedy mobilization and implementation of rehabilitation and reconstruction projects and in addressing challenges faced including with respect to demobilization and reintegration of forces and the presence of forces other than Ethiopian Federal forces. The PSC may welcome the work of the MVCM and endorse the recent extension of the mandate of the mechanism.

Briefing on the agreement for lasting peace through permanent cessation of hostilities in Ethiopia

Briefing on the agreement for lasting peace through permanent cessation of hostilities in Ethiopia

Date | 9 November 2022

Tomorrow (9 November), the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) will convene its 1120th session to receive a briefing on the Agreement for Lasting Peace Through Permanent Cessation of Hostilities Between the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). This will be the second agenda item that Council will consider during its 1120th session.

Opening remarks is expected from the Permanent Representative of Namibia to the AU and Chairperson of the PSC for the month of November, Emilia Ndinealo Mkusa, followed by a statement from AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS), Bankole Adeoye. Former President of Nigeria and AU High Representative for the Horn of Africa, Olusegun Obasanjo, will brief the Council on the recently signed agreement between government and TPLF. The representatives of Ethiopia, the Secretariat of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) are also expected to deliver statements as concerned state and relevant regional mechanism, respectively.

The last time that Council convened a session on Ethiopia was during its 1115th session that took place on 21 October, just few days before the start of the AU-led peace talks to end the conflict in the Tigray region of Ethiopia in Pretoria, Republic of South Africa. In that session, while welcoming the initiation of the AU-led peace talks slated for 24 October, Council laid down its expectation for ‘an immediate, comprehensive and unconditional ceasefire and the resumption of humanitarian services’. It also welcomed the newly constituted High-Level Panel of eminent Africans by the Chairperson of the AU Commission, composed of Olusegun Obasanjo, AU High Representative for the Horn of Africa, Uhuru Kenyatta, former President of Kenya, and Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, former Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa and Panel of the Wise Member.

Tomorrow’s session, which comes in the context of Council’s request form its last session for the AU Commission to provide regular updates on the situation in Ethiopia, presents members of the Council the opportunity to receive updates on the peace process. In this respect, a key development to be highlighted in the session will be the cessation of hostilities agreement (COHA) signed between the parties. The two parties were able to strike the deal after 10 days of intensive negotiation, which started on 25 October under the auspice of the AU and with the participation of IGAD, UN, and US in observer capacity.

The PSC is expected to welcome the signing of the agreement with a sigh of relief. It constitutes an embodiment of the hope that the talks would lead to a cessation of hostilities agreement and the concomitant expectation for it to bring the two-year conflict to an end. In so many ways, this agreement also represents marked improvements from the truce that only lasted for less than half a year. As such, main aspect of tomorrow’s briefing is expected to be on the main elements of the COHA, progress made thus far in its implementation, and issues that may require the attention of the Council. The first important element of the COHA is the agreement to an ‘immediate and permanent Cessation of Hostilities’, which include the cessation of ‘overt and covert acts of violence’ and all forms of hostile propaganda, rhetoric, and hate speech. The cessation of hostilities constitutes the first critical step that clears the deck for taking actions on the rest of the commitments entered by the two parties in the agreement. Indications over the last five days after the agreement are that it is largely holding.

The second important element is the agreement to a comprehensive disarmament, demobilisation, and reintegration (DDR) program for TPLF combatants pursuant to article 6 of the COHA. The agreement further outlines steps that need to be followed by the two parties to translate the DDR program into action. Accordingly, they have agreed to establish an ‘open channel of communication between senior commanders of both sides’ within 24 hours, and then to convene a follow-up meeting of senior commanders within 5 days from the signing of the agreement to ‘discuss and work out detailed modalities for disarmament for the TPLF combatants, taking into account the security situation on the ground’. The implementation of this part of the agreement is again fully on course with the establishment of hotline by the parties within 24 hours of the signing of the agreement. This was followed by the convening of the ‘Senior Commanders’ Meeting’ on 7 November in Nairobi, Kenya under AU’s Panel facilitation. On the Nairobi meeting, the expected outcome is to agree on the ‘modalities for silencing the guns, humanitarian access, and the restoration of services in the Tigray region’, according to AU’s 7 November press release. Once modalities are agreed, the two sides are therefore expected to start embarking on the delicate matter of the disarmament process.

Once the two sides agreed on the modalities for disarmament, the disarmament activities are envisaged to commence prioritizing the heavy armaments of TPLF combatants. The disarmament of heavy weapons is set to happen within a 10-days timeframe (with a possibility of extension) after the conclusion of the meetings of senior commanders while the overall disarmament of the TPLF combatants will be completed within 30 days from the signing of the COHA, which means before 3 December. It is worth noting that, the demobilization and reintegration part of the program is to take place taking into account the framework of the FDRE constitution and considering ‘Tigray region’s law-and-order needs’.

The third element of COHA is what may be considered to be the item with immediate dividends for people caught up in the crossfire. This is the agreement to expedite humanitarian aid and restore essential services in Tigray that has been under blockade since withdrawal of Ethiopian National Defence Force (ENDF) in June 2021. While the signing of the agreement on its own brings a respite for affected people, the immediate implementation of this commitment would be even more important for millions of civilians in a desperate condition due to the blockade and the disruption of services.

The COHA also provides for detailed terms on restoration of constitutional order and federal authority in Tigray. The specifics of how this would happen are stipulated in articles 3, 7, 9, and 10 of the agreement, covering the entry into and seizure by federal forces of Mekelle and other parts of Tigray and establishment of inclusive interim administration until elections are held in the region. Additionally, it also envisages the launch of a comprehensive national transitional justice system to ensure accountability for widespread human rights and humanitarian law violations and heal wounds through the ascertainment of truth, reconciliation, and redress of victims. Of course, it remains to be seen how this would be pursued in relation to pre-existing processes such as the dialogue process.

Unlike the failed truce, apart from the stipulation of negotiated terms, the COHA has a monitoring, verification, and compliance mechanism. As stipulated under article 11, the parties agreed to establish a Joint Committee comprising a representative from each party, a representative from IGAD and chaired by the high-level panel. The Joint Commission will be assisted by a team of African Experts with the mandate to monitor the implementation of the permanent cessation of hostilities as agreed under article 3 of the COHA. AU, through the high-level panel, will appoint the team comprising not more than 10 for a duration of six months after their deployment with a possibility of extension upon agreement with the parties to the agreement. In case of instances of violation of cessation of hostilities, the team of experts will inform the concerned party to immediately rectify violations. If no rectification measure is taken within 24 hours, the AU, through the high-level panel, will convene the Joint Committee to resolve the problem. However, the agreement does not inform next steps if the Joint Committee could not resolve the issue. The other concern is whether the Joint Committee would be able to effectively discharge its mandate with this small size of team of experts.

It has been only few days since the singing of the COHA. If the early signs are anything to go by, the implementation of the agreement is off to a good start. While the COHA is not without challenges on the ground, encouraging signs include the fact that the TPLF negotiation team stayed in Addis Ababa after the conclusion of the talks for the COHA in Pretoria. The convening of the military leaders of the two parties in Kenya in accordance with the terms in COHA is a further encouraging sign that the COHA is holding. Indeed, both of these are also indicative of the commitment that the parties are demonstrating to implement the agreement. Sustaining the momentum requires speedy follow up of the delivery of humanitarian assistance and the resumption of services. It is also important to guard against what the leader of the Ethiopian Federal Government’s negotiation team, Redwan Hussein, called disgruntled actors from either side of the two parties or third parties who don’t have interest in peace. Obviously, the future of the COHA and the peace it promises also depend on how various issues such as withdrawal of Eritrean forces and delicate aspects of the COHA are dealt with during implementation and in subsequent talks.

The expected outcome of tomorrow’s session is either press statement or a communique. Council is expected to warmly welcome the signing of the COHA and commend the AU high-level panel for the successful effort in facilitating the Peace talks. It may also commend both the federal government of Ethiopia and TPLF for the commitment to the peace talks and the conclusion of the agreement. It is expected that the PSC may call on the parties to show the same resolve for the implementation of the agreement as they did for negotiating the terms of the agreement during the talks. It may also call on all AU member states and partners to extend their full support for the peace process and help the parties in their efforts to the follow up to the COHA. The Council may express its gratitude to the government and people of South Africa and Kenya for hosting the AU-led peace talks and the Senior Commanders’ Meeting, respectively. Council may also commend other partners particularly IGAD, UN, and the US for their support towards the peace process and may encourage them to continue supporting the implementation phase of the agreement. It may also request the Commission to accompany the implementation of the agreement.



Date | November 2022

Namibia chaired the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) in November. The Provisional Program of Work initially envisaged six sessions with eight substantive agenda items. One of these sessions – a briefing on the deployment of 3000 troops to Sahel – was postponed to December. Two sessions that were not initially envisaged were added to the monthly program. Accordingly, the PSC held seven sessions in total. Of the seven sessions, four had two substantive agenda items (the 1117th, 1120th, 1121st, and 1122nd). Six of these agenda items were committed to country/region specific situations while three addressed thematic issues and one was a preparatory meeting held to receive key messages on climate change and peace and security nexus ahead of the 27th Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) (COP 27). The remaining agenda was a consultative meeting of the PSC and the United Nations (UN) Peace Building Commission (UNPBC).

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Briefing on the AU led peace process for Ethiopia

Briefing on the AU led peace process for Ethiopia

Date | 21 October 2022

Tomorrow (21 October), African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) is set to convene its 1115th session for a ‘Briefing on the AU led peace process for Ethiopia’. The meeting was not initially included in the monthly programme of work of the Council.

Following opening remarks by Mohammed Arrouchi, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Morocco to the AU and Chairperson of the PSC for the month of October, Bankole Adeoye, Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security is expected to deliver a statement. Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria and AU High Representative for the Horn of Africa is also expected to provide update to the PSC. The representatives of Ethiopia and the regional body the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) are also expected to deliver statements as the concerned country and regional economic community, respectively.

It is to be recalled that the PSC held its last meeting on the situation in Ethiopia on 4 August 2022 at its 1097th session. Since that time, the situation in the conflict has dramatically changed for worse. Tomorrow’s meeting is expected to focus on two issues. The first relate to the current state of the hostilities that resumed on 24 August. The second area of focus of tomorrow’s session will be the preparations for the peace talks that the AU has been working to get off the ground.

Tomorrow’s session comes in the context of three important developments. The first relate to developments on the battle front where significant escalation of violence has been witnessed in recent weeks. Ethiopia’s federal government announced the capture of three strategic towns in Tigray (Shire in northwest, and Alamata and Korem in South of Tigray) after weeks of fighting in which Eritrean Defense Forces play major part in the hostilities between Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) supported by regional Amhara forces on one side and the Tigray forces on the other.

It is to be recalled that fighting resumed between federal government and Tigray region on 24 August after five months of lull in violence. The resumption of hostilities collapsed the truce that was in force following the 24 March 2022 declaration by the Federal Government declared an ‘indefinite humanitarian truce’ and its subsequent reciprocation by Tigray forces by expressing willingness to respect the truce and cessation of hostilities on condition that adequate and timely humanitarian assistance are provided. Between March and August, the diplomatic engagements by the AU High-Representative for the Horn of Africa, former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, along with his US, EU and UN counterparts were hoped to make headways towards the peaceful resolution of the conflict that has taken a heavy human toll since its eruption in November 2020. However, tension began to mount again as diplomatic interventions by the various special envoys failed to build up on and translate the momentum witnessed between March and August into meaningful peace talks towards an agreed cessation of hostilities and comprehensive political settlement. Meanwhile, as diplomatic efforts failed to make headways, concerns have been expressed about the inadequacy and unsustainability of the ‘indefinite humanitarian truce’, including deepening differences over the flow of humanitarian assistance and the resumption of basic services to Tigray, which has been cut off from electricity, telecom, banking, and other basic utilities. Against the background of military buildup on all sides and the failure of regional and international actors to take these differences seriously and mobilize stronger efforts to iron them out, attacks and subsequent seizure of territories in the neighboring Amhara region by Tigray forces triggered the resumption of hostilities in various border areas of Tigray.

The second context in which tomorrow’s session is held is the proposed convening of UN Security Council’s meeting on 21 October on the ongoing hostilities in Tigray. This meeting, being convened on the request of the African 3 (A3) members of the UN Security Council (UNSC),  brings the total number of Security Council’s meetings on this conflict situation to fifteen since the outbreak of the conflict in November 2020.

The proposed convening of the UNSC meeting comes in the context of growing anxiety about both the scale and gravity of the bloodshed the nature of hostilities are feared and reported to be precipitating and aggravating an already dire situation for civilians who have already endured enormous suffering since the start of the war. Regional and international actors as well as partners have intensified their call for the immediate cessation of hostilities as intensifying fighting continues deeper into Tigray, raising the alarm over worsening humanitarian crisis and the susceptibility of the context of the hostilities for atrocities. The AU, widely perceived as responding inadequately to this situation, was on the lead in calling for an end of the hostilities. In a statement issued on 15 October, the Chairperson of the AU Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat expressed his ‘grave concern’ over the ‘reports of increased fighting in the Tigray Region’ and called for an ‘immediate, unconditional ceasefire and the resumption of humanitarian services’. In the same statement, the Chairperson also urged the two parties to ‘recommit to dialogue as per their agreement to direct talks to be convened in South Africa by a high-level team led by the AU High Representative for the Horn of Africa and supported by the international community’.

Mahamat was not alone in issuing such statement. On 17 October, United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, characterized the situation in Ethiopia as ‘spiraling out of control’ while calling the hostilities in Tigray to end immediately and for ‘immediate withdrawal of and disengagement of Eritrean armed forces from Ethiopia’. In his 18 October tweet, Guterres further stressed the need for urgent resumption of talks and expressed UN’s readiness to support the AU in that regard. The following day UN Human Rights Chief issued a statement saying that ‘Since 31 August we have received numerous reports of civilian casualties and destruction of civilian objects due to airstrikes and artillery strikes in Tigray – disruptions to communication make it particularly difficult to verify reports, but it is clear that the toll on civilians is utterly staggering.’ He further held that ‘Under international law, indiscriminate attacks or attacks deliberately targeting civilians or civilian objects amount to war crimes’, although statements from the Federal Government of Ethiopia expressed that efforts are made for avoiding the targeting of civilians. Others particularly the European Union and the United States issued statements with similar firmness, urging both sides to cease hostilities and recommit to the AU-led peace process.

The third context is AU’s new call for the convening of peace talks on 24 October in South Africa. It is to be recalled that on 1 October, the Chairperson of the AU Commission dispatched a letter inviting both parties to the conflict to attend an AU-convened peace talk slated for 8 October in South Africa within the framework of the AU-led peace process for Ethiopia, which was envisaged to deliberate on the ‘guiding principles, agenda issues, modalities, format, and timelines for the negotiated settlement’. Regarding the mediation team, in the statement he issued on 6 October, Mahamat stated that ‘the peace talks will be conducted through a high level panel of eminent Africans, established purposefully for the Ethiopian peace process. The panel is led by H.E Olusegun Obasanjo, AU High Representative for the Horn of Africa and former President of Nigeria, along with H.E Uhuru Kenyatta, former President of Kenya, and H.E. Dr Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, former Deputy President of South Africa and Member of the AU Panel of the Wise. The Federal Government of Ethiopia announced the acceptance of the invitation on 5 October. On the same day, the Tigray side responded positively but sought two main clarifications: whether there would be additional actors to be invited to the negotiation and the envisaged role for the international community, and logistical details particularly the travel and security arrangements for its negotiating team. Just a day before the planned negotiation date, former President Kenyatta informed the Chairperson that he would not be able to attend the meeting due to a schedule clash. He also sought clarity from the AU Commission on the ‘structure and modalities of the talks, including but not limited to the rule of engagement for all the interlocutors invited’ and whether the issue of ‘immediate and unconditional cessation of hostilities’ would be on the agenda of the meeting. The proposed meeting was eventually postponed, given the lack of clarity around the modalities of the peace talks and tight schedule.

Since then the AU Commission has held wide consultations and been working hard for putting in place the necessary preparations for the commencement of the delayed peace talks. This process, among others, clarified the role of regional and international stakeholders stating that the peace talks will be held with the support of such stakeholders. The statements that AUC Chair issued on 6 October and on 15 October affirmed that the talks will be ‘supported by the international community.’ It was against this background that the AU Commission sent another letter to the members of the mediation panel and the parties to the conflict inviting them for starting the peace talks on 24 October in South Africa. No official statement has been issued by both sides as of yet, but Redwan Hussien, national security advisor to the Prime Minster of Ethiopia, in his 20 October tweet, confirmed federal government’s participation. There was no response from the forces in Tigray on the new proposed date of the peace talks.

The expected outcome of the session is a communique. The PSC is expected to express its deep concern about the resumption of hostilities and the toll the fighting is having on peoples in the effected territories. The PSC, reiterating that war cannot be a solution to the conflict, may welcome the 15 October statement of the AU Commission Chairperson and his strong call for an immediate, unconditional ceasefire and the resumption of humanitarian services’. The PSC may also call on all third parties to refrain from all acts that may further inflame the situation and may in this regard call on Eritrea to withdraw its troops. The PSC may also express the necessity for the parties to start peace talks and in this respect may welcome the preparations made by the AU Commission and the members of the mediation panel including the invitation sent for the parties for starting talks on 24 October in South Africa. The PSC may welcome the commitments that the parties have been expressing for engaging in AU-led peace talks and urge them to send their delegations for the peace talks. The Council, decrying the attacks that caught civilians and humanitarian actors, may also urge the parties to observe human rights and international humanitarian law rules at all times to ensure the protection of civilians and humanitarian actors. It may also reiterate its encouragement to the parties to the conflict ‘to place the supreme interests of Ethiopia and its people above all else and embrace inclusive political dialogue as the only viable approach towards finding a consensual solution to the current situation. The PSC may also reaffirm its ‘appreciation to all partners for their continued support and encourages them to scale up their support for the AU-led mediation process’ and commends South Africa for its willingness to host the peace talks and urge other member states to intensify their support to the efforts of the mediation panel.



Date | October 2022

In October, the Kingdom of Morocco was the monthly rotating chairperson of the Africa Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC). The provisional program of work initially envisaged five substantive sessions of which two agenda items were dedicated to country/region specific issues. Two more agenda items with country/region focus were added in the course of the month. Accordingly, situations in the Horn of Africa, Central Africa and the Sahel were considered during the month. Overall the PSC convened seven (7) sessions and one joint consultative meeting addressing a total of eight (8) agenda items plus the consultative meeting.

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Updated briefing on the situation in the Horn of Africa

Updated briefing on the situation in the Horn of Africa

Date | 04 August 2022

Tomorrow (4 August), the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) will convene its 1097th session for an updated briefing on the situation in the Horn of Africa.

The PSC Chairperson for August, The Gambia’s Permanent Representative to the AU, Jainaba Jagne, is expected to start the session with an opening remark. AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS), Bankole Adeoye, is also expected to make statement. AU Representative for the Horn of Africa, Olusegun Obasanjo, is expected to deliver an updated briefing on the situation in Ethiopia and his activities since the last meeting of the PSC. The representatives of Ethiopia, as a concerned country, and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) are also expected to deliver statements through their representatives.

The last time the High Representative addressed the Council on the situation was during its 1064th session held on 10 February. It is to be recalled that a briefing session was planned to take place on 4 May and then on 5 July but both sessions were later canceled. Tomorrow’s briefing would provide update on the activities of the High Representative since his last briefing in February and overall developments regarding the situation in the country.

One of the major developments Obasanjo is likely to highlight is the 24 March declaration of an ‘indefinite humanitarian truce effective immediately’ by the government of Ethiopia. This was reciprocated by the Regional Government of Tigray expressing their commitment to respect the truce and cessation of hostilities provided that humanitarian assistance is delivered adequately and timely. Regional and international actors including AU, UN, and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) also welcomed the said truce. The Chairperson of the Commission, in a statement issued on 25 March, welcoming the truce, stated that he ‘continues to advocate for a negotiated permanent comprehensive ceasefire.’ The 25 March statement by UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, also commended the humanitarian truce while stressing that the positive development should ‘translate into immediate improvements on the ground’. Guterres further urged for the ‘restoration of public services in Tigray, including banking, electricity and telecommunications’ and for all sides to ‘enable and facilitate the delivery of desperately needed humanitarian assistance across all affected areas’.

PSC members may be interested to hear about the state of the implementation of the declared truce and how far it moved the needle on the delivery of humanitarian assistance in Northern Ethiopia, particularly Tigray. The first humanitarian convoy of 20 trucks since mid-December arrived in Tigray through the Semera-Abala-Mekelle route a week after the declaration of the truce on 1 and 2 April.

On the activities he carried out, Obasanjo is expected to brief the Council about the outcome of his interaction with the Federal Government and the leadership of the Tigray region in late May and early June. During his media engagement on 1 June, Obasanjo told BBC Focus on Africa that the peace process was progressing ‘very slowly but steadily’. Indeed, the ‘truce’, though fragile, has continued to hold. While highlighting next steps, Obasanjo is likely to point out his expectations that the truce would translate into a negotiated ceasefire, paving the way for peace talks for a comprehensive political agreement for the full resolution of the conflict.

Both sides have reaffirmed their commitment to the peaceful resolution of the conflict. The government announced the establishment of a seven-member committee for the peace talk. On the other side, the President of the regional government of Tigray in an open letter he issued on 13 June expressed readiness to participate in a ‘credible, impartial, and principled peace process’. But, the same letter also raised concern that ‘the proximity of the High Representative to the Prime Minster of Ethiopia has not gone unnoticed by our people’. On 18 July, the regional state also reportedly set up a team of negotiators for the talks with the federal government. There is apparently disagreement between the two parties on who should lead the negotiation – the federal government wants the peace talk to be held under the auspice of the AU while Tigray regional state prefers peace talks facilitated by Kenya with the support of international partners, including US, EU, UAE, UN, and the AU. There are reports that peace talks may start soon in Kenya. In this respect, members of the PSC may seek from Obasanjo on the level of preparations for the start of the talks and ways of addressing the deficit of trust undermining progress for starting peace talks.

On the security front, the situation remains relatively calm, although tense and volatile. In May, clashes were reported between Tigray forces and Eritrea though it did not worsen into a full blown conflict. The leaderships in Tigray and the federal government have also continued trading accusations of mobilization of forces, raising the spectre of renewed conflict.

During his last engagement with the PSC, Obasanjo stated that ‘we …continue to call on all parties to fully withdraw from occupied territories and to return to their original positions…in order to lay the foundation for the commencement of dialogue and negotiations.’ On 12 April, the authorities in Tigray announced the withdrawal of their forces from Erebti, in the Afar region. Subsequently, they also announced the withdrawal of all their forces from Afar and declared their expectations for unhindered delivery of humanitarian aid into Tigray. One territory that remains major site of contention from which Tigray forces call for withdrawal of forces that seized the region since the start of the war is Western Tigray.

Obasanjo’s briefing is also expected to touch on the humanitarian situation in the northern part of the country. In this connection, the High Representative may highlight the relative increase of aid deliveries to Tigray region following the humanitarian truce. According to OCHA’s 22 July situation report, ‘in Tigray Region, since the resumption of humanitarian convoy movement on 1 April, and as of 19 July, 4,308 trucks have arrived in Mekelle via Afar through 30 humanitarian convoys.’ The convoy movement also included 1,081,155 liters of fuel, though partners requires 2 million litres each month. Although the government rejected it as ‘myth’, an EU official who visited Tigray pointed out that shortage of fuel is preventing the delivery of much-needed humanitarian aid. In a press conference after the meeting of the Council of the EU, Joseph Borrrel, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, told reporters that progress made ‘not enough for full normalization of relations’ and underscored the need for ‘restoring basic services in Tigray and lifting restrictions on fuel and fertilizers…to save millions of people from death.’ Given that this is also a farming season, Obasanjo may also touch on the need for ensuring that fertilizers and other farm inputs are promptly released and availed to farmers.

Despite progress in aid delivery, the humanitarian situation in the northern part of the country remains alarming with high levels of food insecurity and malnutrition. The 27 June OCHA humanitarian update indicates that the number of people in need of food assistance in northern Ethiopia has increased from 9 million in November of last year to more than 13 million people, of which 4.8 million in Tigray, 1.2 million in Afar and over 7 million in Amhara regional states. The other issue that the High Representative may also touch on is the non-resumption of basic services such as banking, electricity, telecommunication. In his last briefing on 10 February, he pointed out that ‘the continued limitations in access to essential services is worsening the dire humanitarian situation in Tigray and other areas directly affected by the conflict.’ He went on to tell the PSC that ‘[w]e should collectively continue to urge the Federal Government to lift the blockade and restore services as critical confidence-building measures.’

The other issue that Obasanjo touched on from his last briefing was release of prisoners. It is to be recalled that Tigray forces reportedly announced the release of over 4000 prisoners of war, while it is reported that a few thousands more remain in prison in Tigray. In a statement it issued on 30 June, Ethiopian Human Rights Commission report called for the immediate release of 8560 Tigrians held in two camps in Afar region noting that they ‘are detained illegally and arbitrarily based on their ethnic identity.’

It is to be recalled that no outcome document by way of communique or press statement came out of the previous sessions including the previous 1064th session during which the High Representative briefed the Council. This time, the PSC may issue a communique. The PSC may recognize the humanitarian truce as an encouraging development towards addressing the dire humanitarian situation in the north, but at the same time, express concern over the prevailing gap between the humanitarian needs on the ground and the level and pace of delivery of aid so far. In this respect, members of the Council may appeal to all parties to ensure that the humanitarian truce holds and act in good faith to allow flow of aid commensurate with the needs on the ground including by creating conditions such as increased access to fuel that enable humanitarian actors to execute emergency relief efforts. The PSC may also reiterate Obasanjo’s call from his February briefing for release of all political prisoners and prisoners of war. Members of the Council may also stress on the importance of building on the humanitarian truce and reiterate the call made by the High Representative during his February briefing for the restoration of disconnected social services including telecommunication, banking and electricity and urgent distribution of fertilizers and other farm inputs for farmers. The PSC may also recognize as positive step withdrawal of Tigray forces from Afar and may reiterate the call Obasanjo made in February for ‘all parties to fully withdraw from occupied territories and to return to their original positions.’ On security and peace process front, while welcoming the fact that the truce the parties declared is holding, PSC may request that further steps are taken towards negotiating permanent ceasefire and peace agreement. It may encourage the parties to build on the pronouncements they made expressing their commitment for starting peace talks.



Date | August 2022

In August, The Gambia chaired the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC). From the eleven sessions initially inscribed in the Provisional Program of work, two were postponed. Another agenda item was added in the course of the month. Seven of the sessions were committed to thematic agenda items while two addressed a country/region specific issue.

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March 2022

2022 marks the 20th anniversary of the inauguration of the African Union (AU). In reviewing the record of the AU in its two decades of existence, the aspect of AU’s role that is sure to attract the most scrutiny relates to the area of peace and security. While this special research report is not meant to provide such a comprehensive review, it seeks to provide an analysis of the major peace and security issues in Africa in 2022 as a useful lens for understanding where the AU’s peace and security order stands 20 years after AU’s launch. In presenting the analysis on the various major peace and security issues afflicting the continent, this report attests to both the importance of AU’s role and how its role has become more, not less, important today than at the time of its establishment, notwithstanding recent regressions in its performance.

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Updated briefing on the situation in the Horn of Africa


Date | 10 February, 2022

Tomorrow (10 February), the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) will convene its 1064th session to receive updated briefing on the situation in the Horn of Africa as one of its agenda items. This agenda item is added on the request of the AU High Representative for the Horn of Africa.

Following the opening remarks by Kenya’s Permanent Representative and Chairperson of the PSC for the month, Jean Kamau, AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS), Bankole Adeoye, is expected to make statement. The main focus of the session is to receive updated briefing from AU High Representative for the Horn of Africa, H.E. President Olusegun Obasanjo, who is undertaking visits to various parts of Ethiopia. The focus of the briefing is accordingly expected to be on the activities of the High Representative for peace process in Ethiopia since the last briefing.

This is the third time that the High Representative briefs the PSC since his appointment in August 2021. It is to be recalled that the last time the Council convened a dedicated session on the situation was during its 1045th meeting that was held on 08 November 2021. It is expected that during tomorrow’s session his briefing will address two issues. The first of these that PSC member states expect him to brief them on is his work plan and strategies for implementing the peace process. Second, the High Representative is expected to provide an overview of peace and security developments on the situation in Ethiopia since his last briefing in November 2021. He is also expected to highlight his diplomatic engagements since he last updated the Council, and may outline next steps.

Since the PSC’s last briefing from the High Representative, there have been significant developments in the conflict in northern Ethiopia. The conflict has taken a heavy toll on civilians and the economy since its eruption in early November 2020. In the course of 2021, the conflict expanded beyond Tigray and spilled over to the neighbouring regions of Amhara and Afar. Since November, the dynamics of the conflict have changed, with the military balance of power shifting in favour of Ethiopian Government forces. Tigrayan forces, under pressure from drone reliant counter-offensive from Federal Government forces, announced on 21 December their withdrawal from territories they seized in Amhara and Afar regions and retreated to their own region. On 23 December 2021, the government of Ethiopia announced a pause to the fighting stating that it will not move further into Tigray region.

Some other notable developments include the announcement on 7 January 2022 by the government on the release of high-profile political prisoners including senior members of Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). The Chairperson of the AU Commission issued a statement dated 8 January 2022 expressing that he is ‘pleased to learn of the release of political opposition figures detained in Ethiopia.’ The government also issued a law setting up a national dialogue Commission, which is being viewed by international actors as a welcome development despite uncertainties and contestations about inclusivity and representativeness of the process. It was against this background that the UN also issued a statement. In a statement that the UN Secretary-General issued on 19 January, he stated that Obasanjo ‘briefed him about the efforts being made by the government of Ethiopia and the Tigray Peoples’ Liberation Front (TPLF) to move towards a resolution of the violent conflict.’

Though the PSC discussed the situation in Ethiopia during the summit level session in last March under AOB, a formal and substantive engagement happened only at its 1045th emergency session of November 2021. In that session, the Council, among others, urged parties for an immediate cessation of hostilities and pursue political dialogue. The Council also highlighted the imperative of ensuring an impartial, effective, transparent and prompt investigation into alleged violations. It further requested at the session, to receive periodic updates on the situation and tomorrow’s session is also convened within this framework. It is to be recalled that Ethiopia requested the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) to conduct a joint investigation into the alleged human right violations in Tigray during the March summit level session. The ACHPR launched investigation independently on its own in June 2021, despite lack of agreement with the government of Ethiopia on the modalities for such investigation.

On the side-lines of the AU Summit held on 5-6 February, Obasanjo held consultations. One such consultation he held was with Djibouti’s President Ismail Guelleh. The discussion led to the expression of support by Guelleh to the mandate of Obasanjo and approval of the assignment of Mohamed Idriss Farah, former Permanent Representative of Djibouti to the AU and a well-known figure in the diplomatic circles in Addis Ababa, to Obasanjo’s mediation team.

Continuing with his effort to achieve ceasefire and progress towards establishing the ground for peace talks, Obasanjo undertook visits to parts of Ethiopia including Kombolcha and the capital of Tigray, Mekelle. He also travelled to the Afar region along with President Sahelework Zewde. Since his appointment in August, Obasanjo has been engaged in shuttle diplomacy between Addis Ababa and Mekelle, and further interacting with key actors such as Kenya and US. In tomorrow’s session, Obasanjo is expected to brief the Council about his recent diplomatic engagements to end the conflict and update the Council where the process currently stands. Among others, he is expected to highlight on-going efforts to address the humanitarian situation in various parts of the country and potential for progress for the release of prisoners of war which may serve as catalyst for progress in other fronts.

On the battle front, despite the suspension of ground offensive, there have been reports that drone attacks targeting places in Tigray have continued. Similarly, most recently reports have emerged that fighting has erupted and continues in Afar involving Tigrayan forces. These have resulted in the needless loss of innocent lives and the displacement of others. On the other hand, essential services such as banking and electricity remain disconnected.

Two issues may be of interest to the Council in tomorrow’s discussion. The first is how to secure an immediate cessation of hostilities and unhindered humanitarian access, which would further pave the way for a broader political settlement to the conflict. Second, some positive developments notably the delivery through air of much needed aid by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) highlights the importance of addressing the dire humanitarian situation in the region and other parts, including by resolving the conditions limiting the delivery of emergency food aid and medical assistance. According to a 20 January OCHA situation report, an estimated 9.4 million people need food assistance in northern Ethiopia, and 3.9 million people in Tigray are in need of health services. In this respect, it remains critical for the AU to intensify its engagement through the High Representative, particularly in terms of encouraging the expansion of the current efforts and openings in the delivery of humanitarian assistance towards full humanitarian access to those most in need of such assistance.

The expected outcome of tomorrow’s session is a communique. The Council may particularly reiterate its call for immediate cessation of hostilities and unhindered access to humanitarian access as a first step towards a broader political settlement to the conflict. The Council may however welcome the recent developments that contribute to reducing tension including the release of prisoners and the decision not to enter into Tigray as well as the retreat of Tigrian forces to Tigray. Commending the efforts of the High Representative to the Horn of Africa, the Council may urge the Representative to seize the moment and step-up diplomatic engagement with parties to the conflict as well as regional leaders and actors for sustaining some of the initial positive measures taken. The PSC may also welcome the delivery of aid by the ICRC and encourage the easing of the conditions that have impended humanitarian access for reaching those in desperate need of humanitarian assistance before it is too late. It may also call on the international community to extend full support to the efforts of Obasanjo and to encourage all sides to enhance measures that facilitate the smooth delivery of humanitarian aid, the end of the resumption of essential services, the achievement of ceasefire and the process towards peace talks.

Monthly Digest on the AUPSC - February 2022


Date | February 2022

In February, Kenya chaired the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC). From the six sessions initially inscribed in the program of work, three were removed. Following the addition of a session not initially envisaged, the PSC held four sessions during the month.

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