By: ANTHONY WESAKA
The government has offered to contribute troops to the African Union standby rapid response force intended to prevent or intervene in conflict across the continent.
Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa told journalists in Kampala yesterday that Uganda will contribute to AU in form of troops before adding that other countries will make their contributions inform of cash and other logistics.
So far, South Africa, Ethiopia Algeria, Angola, Chad, Guinea, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal and Tanzania have pledged troops to the interim force.
While Tanzania has its troops in eastern DR Congo as part of the regional force (ICGLR), Uganda last year sent troops to fight along forces loyal to President Salva Kiir in South Sudan.
“AU made a resolution that countries that are willing, can volunteer to come together and have the capacity in place whenever there is a crisis. Africa moves in and either stop that crisis from occurring or stop it from continuing when it has already occurred,” said Mr Kutesa. He said a number of African countries have already expressed their willingness to form up this rapid response force that he said will be in place until 2016 when a standby African force will be created.
The authorisation to intervene in conflicts will be given by the Peace and Security Council of the African union.
African Presidents attending the Pretoria Summit in South Africa last year resolved to form a body that would rapidly respond to crisis across the continent.
The body to be known as the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises (ACIRC) was agreed upon during the first round of informal consultations between Presidents Yoweri Museveni, Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania, Idriss Derby of Chad and the host Jacob Zuma.
The presidents said the decision to form ACIRC came due to the realisation that independent and swift African response to crises that arise on our continent could not wait for the full AU Standby Force.