A continental peacekeeping force could come closer to reality, as African Union (AU) ministers of defence are meeting in Zimbabwe to review progress made in the establishment of the African Standby Force (ASF), reports say.
According to The Herald, the two-day meeting kicked off on Monday, with defence, peace and security experts from 54-member states set to assess progress made towards the operationalisation of the standby force.
A News Day report quoted Zimbabwe National Army Major-General Sibusisiwe Moyo as calling for the strengthening of security co-operation among member states to enable the continent to respond quickly and effectively to crises.
“Better co-ordination will help speed up the delivery of assistance during crises,” Moyo was quoted as saying.
The idea of the ASF was first mooted in 2008. December has been set as the new deadline for the setting up of the military force.
The military force would be responsible for maintaining peace and stability on the continent and to intervene in regional hotspots, the Herald said.
Meanwhile, the AU has dispatched a high-level delegation to Burundi to help find a peaceful solution to the current political crisis in the east African country.
In a statement, the AU reiterated its appeal for dialogue and restraint in order to find a consensual solution to the crisis.
Burundi has been hit by protests against President Pierre Nkurunziza’s bid for a third term in power.