Africa summit focuses on Mali, development

Jan. 27, 2013 at 8:20 PM
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ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- African leaders said the conflict in Mali and peace and security to promote African development will be discussed at the African Union summit in Ethiopia.

The theme of the summit, which opened Sunday in Addis Ababa, is Pan-Africanism and the African Renaissance, Washington's Voice of America reported.

The summit will celebrate Africa's rapid economic growth and call for more integration among member states, the VOA said.

African governments will consider an AU Peace and Security Council proposal to increase the numbers of troops and expand United Nations assistance in Mali.

An operation in Mali that initially involved only the Economic Community Of West African States economic bloc has grown to include other African countries in addition to France, VOA reported.

Originally, the force was to include 3,300 troops, but nations' pledges have increased the expected number to nearly 6,000, the report said.

"We should do everything possible to help restore constitutional order in Mali, safeguard the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country and address the humanitarian crisis in collaboration with ECOWAS, the United Nations, and other international partners," said Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, who took over Sunday as African Union chairman.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he will advise the U.N. Security Council on how to support the African intervention force.

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