African leaders met on Saturday, February 18, 2023, to discuss a slew of challenges facing the continent as UN chief Antonio Guterres urged them to do more to bring peace to conflict-hit regions.
The two-day African Union meeting aims to address these challenges and kick-start a sputtering free trade agreement.
Africa is now suffering from a record drought in the Horn of Africa, and deadly instability in the Sahel area, and the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
With more than 30 presidents and prime ministers in attendance, most of the meetings are taking place behind closed doors at the AU headquarters in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.
However, attention will be focused on the bloc to see if it can broker ceasefires in the Sahel and the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, where the M23 militia has seized large areas of land and sparked a diplomatic dispute between Kinshasa and the Rwandan government, which is accused of supporting the rebels.
In addition to urging "action for peace," Guterres noted that the 1.4 billion-person continent was facing "enormous tests... on virtually every front"
"I am deeply concerned about the recent rise in violence by armed groups in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo and the rise of terrorist groups in the Sahel and elsewhere," he told the crowd.
UN Secretary-General added: "The mechanisms for peace are faltering," Yet he urged the group to "continue to battle for peace"
The seven-nation East African Community's leaders pressed for all armed groups to leave the eastern DRC's occupied territory by the end of the following month at a mini-summit on Friday.
On Friday, Guterres met with several African leaders, including Paul Kagame of Rwanda, to talk specifically about the issue in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
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