Antonio Guterres, the United Nations secretary-general, has called on the UN Security Council to deepen engagement by creating strong, formalized links and regular communications with the African Union’s Peace and Security Council.

Guterres said doing so would enable the effective division of labor, allowing for AU peace enforcement and counter-terrorism operations backed by Security Council mandates, with predictable funding guaranteed by assessed contributions.

“That is the only way we will build the coalition we need to beat terrorism on the African continent and fulfil the African Union’s flagship initiative to Silence the Guns,” he said while briefing the UN Security Council via video link on Thursday.

Guterres highlighted the partnership between the African Union and UN as a model to be emulated in relationships with other regional organizations, recalling the African Union-United Nations framework on peace and security.

Also briefing the Security Council, Moussa Faki Mahamat, the chairperson of the African Union Commission, expressed concerns over the response thus far to the pandemic.

“Against the backdrop of coronavirus impacts, disrupted economies and industries, shuttered schools, hundreds of millions left vulnerable and international diplomacy thrown severely off track, peace processes have become moribund and conflicts entrenched,” he said.

Faki said operations of several peacekeeping missions in Africa have also been hit, with troops unable to deploy to the field.

He added armed groups and violent elements are exploiting the situation for their vested interests, pushing their tactical advantage and intensifying criminal activities.

Meanwhile on Monday, Smail Chergui, the commissioner for peace and security at the African Union Commission, launched a ‘Pledge for Peace’ social media campaign that calls on every peace-loving African, especially the youth, to publicly commit to peace.

The campaign is aimed at reiterating the call on all warring parties to immediately stop fighting and engage in a lasting ceasefire, to give a chance to peacemaking efforts.

“With this campaign we urge you to make a personal pledge to peace through the #MyPledgeForPeace hashtag,” Chergui said.

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