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African leaders call for establishment of a continental free trade area

African leaders call for establishment of a continental free trade areaNouakchott : African leaders from across the continent on Monday discussed ways to promote and sustain peace, development, and security on the closing day of the 31st African Union summit. The leaders emphasized the need for establishment of a free trade area for the entire continent.

The summit wrapped up late Monday in Mauritania’s capital with advisory decisions on Libya, Somalia, and South Sudan.

Attending the two-day summit in Nouakchott were 22 African presidents, four prime ministers, and two foreign ministers. In a written statement, the African Union’s Peace and Security Council said international actors should resume their efforts to implement a UN plan which aims to secure stability, territorial integrity and security in Libya.

Emphasizing the humanitarian conditions in South Sudan, which are worsening day by day due to war, the statement said the parties should fulfill their obligations.

Regarding Somalia, the council said the African Union supports the activities of its federal government in the transition period. It also asked the UN to finance the African Union’s mission in Somalia.

Speaking at a news conference, African Union Chairperson and Rwandan President Paul Kagame said the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement was among the topics that topped the summit’s agenda. Kagame said five more countries signed the agreement.

He added that the establishment of a free trade area would have a great impact on the welfare of the African continent.

Africa urgently needs a comprehensive approach to deal with extremist attacks that take into account the cultural and economic issues that are the root causes of the violence, said Mauritanian President Mohammed Ould Abdel Aziz from his side.

The summit also focused on the union’s 2063 socio-economic transformation plan, which aims to make Africa a strong and integrated player on the global stage.

—SM/UNA-OIC

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