“Palestinians must have a state” African Union leader says

Moussa Faki Mahamat calls for release of all hostages and prisoners, and resolute commitment to political solution based on principle of 2 states

African Union’s chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat condemned Israeli attacks on Gaza as a “war of extermination” and called for a Palestinian statehood.

“The suffering of the Palestinian people, deprived of their fundamental rights to freedom and to the constitution of a viable and sovereign State, is being compounded before our eyes by a war of extermination,” Mahamat said at the opening speech of the 44th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council in Addis Ababa on Wednesday.

Calling for urgent action from the international community, he said: “The use of blind violence is accepted in silence and amnesia by almost all the great powers of the world.”

He also called for the “cessation of hostilities, the release of all hostages and prisoners and a resolute commitment to a political solution based on the principle of two States living in peace and respect for international law.”

The chairperson lauded the recent decision of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and commended South Africa’s commitment to addressing the conflict.

In late 2023, South Africa filed a case at the UN court, accusing Israel of failing to uphold its commitments under the 1948 Genocide Convention.

The ICJ, in its interim January ruling, said South Africa’s claims are plausible. It ordered provisional measures for Israel’s government to desist from genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

The African Union chairperson also drew attention to the various armed conflicts plaguing the African continent, from Sudan to Somalia, emphasizing the urgent need for collective action to address these pressing challenges.

“The resurgence of military coups, pre- and post-electoral violence, humanitarian crises linked to war and/or the effects of climate change, are all major sources of concern for us,” Mahamat said.

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