Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi addresses an African Union summit in Ethiopia. (Photo: Reuters)
Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said Egypt is ready to host a special African summit to discuss setting up an African force tasked with fighting terrorism in the African continent.
El-Sisi made the remarks during a televised speech on Sunday during the opening of the 33rd African Union (AU) Summit in Addis Ababa, where he handed over the rotating AU chairmanship to South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.
During a closed session, African leaders discussed convening a special African summit to discuss establishing a counter-terrorism African force, El-Sisi said.
“I affirm Egypt is ready to host this special African summit stemming from its responsibility and believing in the importance of this proposed [force] to achieve peace and security in Africa," El-Sisi said.
The Egyptian president called for extensive discussions on all organizational aspects related to the proposed summit and force to take place through the African Union Peace and Security Council and the Specialized Technical Committee on Defense, Safety and Security. He said the results will to be put forward to the African Union Commission at the soonest opportunity.
In his speech, El-Sisi also reviewed Egypt’s efforts during its 2019 one-year presidency of the African Union, pledging that his country will continue to support efforts to bolster intra-African cooperation.
Egypt has made progress on boosting peace and security in Africa and enhancing intra-African relations, and has taken major steps towards the settlement of African disputes, he said.
He vowed to continue to offer "complete and continuous support: to the union's new leader Ramaphosa.
El-Sisi highlighted that internal conflicts and terrorism remain among key challenges facing African nations.
He congratulated Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed on wining the Noble Peace Prize late last year for his efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation.
Earlier on the day, El-Sisi held talks with the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, where the pair tackled latest regional developments, namely the situation in Libya and Syria and the peace process in the Middle East, presidential spokesman Bassam Rady said.
During the meeting, El-Sisi affirmed his country looks to continue cooperation with UN to boost international peace and security.
He also held bilateral talks with Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the sidelines of the gathering.