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African countries should put at the fore guiding principles requiring them to find solutions to their own problems, if they are to have a fully-operational African Standby Force by December this year.African Union Commission Head of Peace and Security, Ambassador Smail Chergui, said there was need for African countries to redouble efforts to ensure they did not rely on foreign troops during crisis situations.

He made the remarks here yesterday while addressing the meeting of Chiefs of Defence and Head of Security Services at the ongoing 8th Ordinary meeting of African Union Ministers of Defence, Peace and Security.

Said Ambassador Chergui: “We should always place our unity and solidarity above everything else.

“This is what we should always aim as Africans – African solutions to African problems. I urge member states to redouble their efforts and continue providing support to fully realise our continental vision of having answers to our own problems.”

The ASF is expected to maintain peace and stability on the continent, intervening in regional hotspots at short notice.

The absence of such a military force has seen the continent requesting for foreign troops from mostly Western countries in times of crisi s.

Ambassador Chergui said the continent continued to face security challenges, which required “our concerted focus on conflict prevention and resolution.”

“We still face challenges that need to be addressed through effective funding and provision of other enablers,” he said.

“The operationalisation of the ASF has reached tangible progress that we need to consolidate and enhance.”

Ambassador Chergui thanked President Mugabe for “his leadership and dedication towards Africa’s prosperity, peace, security and stability.”

Source : The Herald