High-level bilateral talks between the African Union and the United States on fighting hunger, climate change, and boosting peacekeeping operations has ended with agreements on the importance of sustained engagement to strengthen cooperation on bilateral, regional, and global issues.
According to the US ambassador to the AU, Michael Battle, “Washington is seeking to have a relationship with the African Union as a continental body, which does not replace the bilateral relationships we have with individual African nations.”
In dealing with transnational issues like drug trafficking, climate control, and food security, “the only legitimately elected voice to speak for the entire continent is the African Union Commission.”
African Union chairperson Mr. Jean Ping told reporters after the 3-day meeting that the 53 member states of the African Union face issues “which are global problems, which can be solved only globally.
“If you want to talk about climate change or trade, no single (African) country… could be heard. Its voice is too small to be heard individually. When we speak collectively, then we represent a power,” Mr. Ping was quoted as saying.
US National Security Advisor General Jim Jones told reporters that both parties greatly appreciated the opportunity to meet and discuss shared challenges and opportunities in the areas of peace and security and economic development.
The AU delegation also met with senior officials in the State Department, the US Agency for International Development, the Department of Justice and others.
The U.S and the A.U. also pledged to hold the talks on an annual basis, rotating between Washington and the African Union’s headquarters of Addis Ababa.
According to analysts, the African Union since its foundation in 2002, has risen to great role on the international stage, and significant in the continent’s security.