Zambia’s Ambassador to Ethiopia Her Excellency Susan Sikaneta says the African Union 2020 agenda dubbed “Silencing the Guns in Africa” requires dedicated multilateral commitment and political will among African countries in order to be achieved.

The AU Peace and Security Council, during its 9th Retreat held in Lusaka from 7th to 9th November, 2016, initiated and developed a Roadmap aimed at realising a conflict-free Africa, through a mechanism that would see an end to gun violence on the continent.

Yesterday at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, the Peace and Security Council deliberated on the master Roadmap towards “Silencing the Guns in Africa by the year 2020” where Ambassador Sikaneta pledged Zambia’s commitment to the agenda.

Speaking as this month’s chairperson of the Peace and Security Council, Ambassador Sikaneta who is also Zambia’s permanent representative to the African Union, said the open discussion session was critical as the Council prepares to submit its first report to the 29th ordinary session of the AU General Assembly scheduled for 3rd and 4th July, 2017, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

‘To show commitment to their resolve to ‘Silence Guns in Africa’, our leaders in January this year adopted the roadmap. In doing so, they blew the whistle as it were, signaling the start of implementation of the roadmap to ‘Silencing the Guns on our continent by 2020’,” Ambassador Sikaneta said.

She however reminded the dignitaries that it would not be an easy task.

“The journey to ‘Silence the Guns in Africa by 2020’ will not be easy and will take a lot of commitment and political will among Africa countries,” she added.

Ambassador Sikaneta regretted that Africa was spending a lot of money on peace and security instead of diverting such funds towards sustainable development programmes.

“The African Union is currently working on its budget for 2018, and from the onset it is clear that Peace and Security make up the bulk of its expenditure. This is at a time when we should be allocating our limited resources towards developmental activities that would add to the quality of life of our people,” Ambassador Sikaneta said.

She pledged Zambia’s commitment in ensuring that the Roadmap on Silencing Guns in Afrivca was achieved.

And Ambassador Sikaneta provoked the open discussion forum by questioning how illegal arms and weapon supplies were easily finding their way into Africa fuel conflicts war.

Meanwhile, AU Acting Director for Peace and Security Department Dr Admore Kambudzi said the Master Roadmap was premised on the principle that Africa should take ownership and assume total responsibility for its destiny.

He said all member states were encouraged to take leading action in ensuring that the Master Roadmap was fully implemented.

And the United Nations Director of Political Affairs Abdel Musa said the United Nations has welcomed an ambitious target by the AU to attain the goal of silencing the guns in Africa by 2020.

He said it was important that the AU and UN continued to work towards a shared understanding and analysis of the sources of warfare, and early responses to violent conflicts in Africa.

Several Development Partners of the AU pledged their continued support towards ending conflict in Africa through silencing the guns.

Finland, which is holding the presidency of the Arms Trade Treaty, said the goal to silence guns in Africa was achievable.

Canada pledged its financial support and disclosed that it would further host ministers of defense for a conference on silencing the guns, later this year.

The United Kingdom that has a permanent sit on the UN Security Council said it would assist in silencing the guns at a global level while the EU said it would consider the AU Master Roadmap on silencing the guns during it AUEU summit in Ivory Coast.