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President Ramaphosa officially assumes chair of AU for 2020

The president began his tenure vowing to end the conflict in Libya and the Sahel region, and to tackle world powers fuelling wars on the continent.

President Cyril Ramaphosa addressing the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 9 February 2020 during his acceptance statement on assuming the chair of the AU for 2020. Picture: @PresidencyZA/Twitter

ADDIS ABABA - President Cyril Ramaphosa is officially the chairperson of the African Union (AU).

Ramaphosa began his tenure vowing to end the conflict in Libya and the Sahel region and to tackle world powers fuelling wars on the continent.

Addressing the AU Summit in Addis Ababa on Sunday afternoon, Ramaphosa pledged solidarity with the people of Palestine and Western Sahara.

He also paid tribute to former President Thabo Mbeki who was the AU chairperson in 2002 and founded the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).

But this time around Ramaphosa had the unenviable task of ending the conflict on the continent and he was going after countries fuelling it.

“We must also deal with the actions of other countries outside our continent that are fighting proxy wars and fuelling the ongoing conflicts,” Ramaphosa said.

“The principle of finding African solutions for African problems must be our over-ridding theme in addressing all the conflicts on our continent as we work within the frameworks of the AU and the United Nations,” he added.

Ramaphosa said South Africa would host an extraordinary summit on silencing the guns in May. He also unequivocally reiterated the union solidarity with Western Sahara and Palestine.

“Today we reaffirm our unwavering support and solidarity with the Palestinian people in their legitimate quest for an independent and sovereign State, as well as the right of the people of Western Sahara to self-determination. We must ensure that our independence and freedom as the peoples of this continent should be universal,” he said.

Ramaphosa said until all Africans are free, no one is free.