Drugs, arms fueling African crises

July 17, 2012 at 12:19 PM
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ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, July 17 (UPI) -- Unchecked arms trading and drug trafficking in Africa are in part to blame for growing instability in Africa, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said.

Delegates from African nations are in Ethiopia this week for a summit of the African Union. Representatives have highlighted political and cultural issues in Mali, where Islamic rebels have claimed autonomy for the north of the country.

Sirleaf said illicit weapons and drugs were fueling the insurgencies in Africa, the BBC reports.

International delegates gathered this month at U.N. headquarters in New York to discuss prospects for a global arms trade treaty. Most of the members of the United Nations support the treaty, though some members, such as China, have expressed concern about the scope of the measure.

The Liberian president emphasized the need for an international arms treaty to help control destabilizing factors plaguing many African countries.

South African Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma was elected as the first female chair of the African Union during meetings in Addis Ababa.

U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson, in his address to the Ethiopian summit, said strong coordination with the AU would make each organization better.

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