The leaders attending the ongoing 32nd African Union (AU) Heads of State and Government Summit in Addis Ababa discussed and strongly condemned the recent terrorist attack at the DusitD2 complex in Nairobi that led to the death of 21 people.
Newly elected AU chairman, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and the President of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Mahmoud Abbas said terrorism should be eradicated and its sponsors identified and shamed.
The Egyptian leader described the scourge of terrorism as a cancer that continues to affect African nations and destroying important structures.
“There is need to identify the sponsors of terrorism and address its root causes while putting counter terrorism measures in place,” said the new chairman during his acceptance speech that also marked the official opening of the AU Summit.
The PLO leader on his part called on the world to reject all forms of terrorism, including religious extremism.
“We are ready to fight terrorism and extremism in all our capitals. We should all abhor all forms of terrorism and extremism,” said Abbas in a state house statement issued in Nairobi on Sunday evening adding that Kenya was the latest victim of the scourge.
Over 700 people were safely evacuated by a multi-agency security team during the DusitD2 attack that authorities termed as a successful operation.
Other key issues discussed at the Summit included a commitment by African leaders to silence all guns in the continent by 2020, an acknowledgement of a new Africa where democratic elections and peaceful transitions have replaced political takeovers and resultant turmoil.
Several countries including Somalia, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Eritrea, DRC Congo, Central African Republic and Libya were recognized for choosing peace and initiating dialogue to resolve conflicts in their countries.
Progress made towards the ratification of the African continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA) was also praised as a major step forward and more countries were encouraged to sign up to the pact.
Outgoing AU chairman President Kagame who chaired the session said the ACFTA protocol, signed less than one year ago, stands only a few weeks to enter into full force
The theme of the summit is:“The year of refugees, returnees and Internally Displaced Persons”.
Among other objectives, the summit is exploring durable solutions over the issue of refugees in Africa, including Kenya.