Maternal, child health reflects Africa's resolve for peace, development (2)

16:18, July 26, 2010      

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Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni spoke at the opening of the AU summit that would focus on regional peace and security, infrastructure, energy and food security. "In order to sustainably support maternal and child health development, every country needs economic growth," Dr. Musseveni is referring to the summit theme: maternal, infant and child health development.

Africa food security has drawn an increasing wide-ranging attention at the summit. "African can become the world's breadbasket," "but you need to work on it" for the next five years or so," the current AU chairperson and Malawian President Mutharike acknowledged.

Meanwhile, the three-day summit in Kampala is also aimed to boost the organization's troop levels in Somalia and obtain a mandate to crush Islamic insurgents in the war-torn nation, as deadly twin blasts had occurred in Kampala on July 11, in which at lease 76 people were killed.

The Somali insurgent movement Al-Shabaab, an al-Qaida-linked militant group, has claimed responsibility for the twin bombings and threatened to carry out more attacks to retaliate against peacekeeping forces from Uganda and Burundi.

For "a peace and security that we fought so many years," Malawian President Dr. Mutharika said, "Islamic terrorists will not be allowed to set up a safe haven in Africa." And AU leaders also pledge to beef up an African force fighting the al-Shabaab group in Somalia.

Guinea and Djibouti pledge troops to peacekeeping force despite al-Shabaab threats. If Guinea and Djibouti fulfill their pledge, it will provide a major boost to the 6,000 soldiers from Uganda and Burundi already deployed. If AU peacekeeping forces turn to fight Taliban and other rebel forces in Somalia, noted some critics nevertheless, they could possibly fall into the trap of the anti-government forces.

By People's Daily Online and its author is PD overseas resident reporter Pei Guangjiang

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