AU Commission’s Jean Ping arrives in Berlin for official visit

German Chancellor, Angela Merkel and AU Commission President, Jean Ping inspects a Guard of Honour at the Federal Chancellery in Berlin/Photo: Musah
German Chancellor Angela Merkel today welcomed the President of the African Union (AU) Commission Jean Ping at the Chancellery in Berlin.

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The Chancellor and Dr Ping inspected a Guard of Honour mounted by a detachment of the German Air Force and proceeded for talks with the Libyan crisis high on the agenda. They also touched on the situation in the Sudan with particular emphasis on the impending independence of Southern Sudan.

The recently ended AU Summit in Malabo proposed a peace initiative which has since been rejected by the Libyan rebels “because it did not call for the departure of Col Muammar Gaddafi, his sons and his inner circles”.

Apprehensions are building-up in NATO countries about the possibility of a prolonged conflict giving the apparent stalemate in the fighting which had been going on for the past three months.

In desperation, France took it upon itself and air-dropped weapons to the rebels in Western Libya, an act that international legal experts agree contravene UN Security Council Resolution 1970.

Indeed, UN Security Council Resolution 1973 which which authorized the imposition of a no-fly zone in Libya explicitly requests all member countries of the United Nations to “ensure strict implementation of the arms embargo” established by resolution 1970.

Chancellor Merkel said at a joint news conference with Dr Ping that they discussed the continued co-operation between the European Union and the African Union in the latter’s efforts at conflict resolution, its campaign against corruption, the AU’s efforts at the promotion of democracy and good governance in Africa.

The German leader said they also discussed important issues such as the situation in Libya and emphasised the “common position” of both Germany and the AU that a solution must be found and that Col Muammar Gaddafi has “no longer a role to play”.

Merkel said the AU has always called for a political solution adding that the continental body would continue on that path. She said Germany was also of the same opinion.

On Sudan, Merkel said the good news was that the independence of the State of South Sudan was just around the corner. She said Germany and the AU have a common position that it was now time to assist the new state fulfil the aspirations of its people.

Chancellor Merkel said Germany was prepared to support the AU in its efforts at finding solutions for a whole host of problems especially concerning peace and security.

Jaen Ping thanked Chancellor Merkel for the attention she pays for events on the African continent as well as the warm hospitality accorded him and his delegation.

Germany, he observed, strongly supports the African Union in its work.

He reiterated that, just as the Chancellor said, they discussed burning issues such as the situation in Libya adding that he took the opportunity to brief her on the position of the AU.

“We also spoke about the situation in other countries on the continent where they are difficulties, for example the Sudan, where we see that the Sudan is gradually distancing itself from violence and moving[forward] in a peaceful way.”

On Libya, Ping said the position of the AU from the beginning was a call for a political solution. Those who prefer other solutions may go ahead, however, any solution other than a political one could only be “provisional”. He stressed that the only viable solution to the Libyan crisis was a political solution adding the AU was working hard with the rest of the world to arrive at a political solution in Libya.

Mellisa Sheridan, ANA Diplomatic Correspondent &
Musah Ibrahim Musah