AU calls for immediate end to Gaza war as UN questions legitimacy

African Union (AU) Chairperson, Mr Moussa Faki speaks during the NAM summit in Kampala on January 19, 2024.

Kampala, (UG): The African Union Chairperson, Mr Moussa Faki Mahamat on Friday used extraordinary summits in Kampala to call for an “immediate end” to war by Israeli forces fighting Hamas on Palestinian territory while the United Nations (UN) admitted that a crisis-riven world has rendered its legitimacy questionable.

Fighting has raged in Gaza since Hamas launched the October 7, 2023 attacks on Israel, killing over 1, 140 people in the country.

By Thursday evening, media reports suggested that Israeli forces had reached the southernmost point in their retaliatory ground invasion of Gaza as they intensified operations across the south of the Palestinian territory.

The health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza put its war death toll on Palestinian territory at 24,762 people as of January 19.

But on Friday, AU chairman Moussa Faki said “Africa condemns this unacceptable, immoral, illegal and humanitarian failure and demands an immediate end to the unjust war against the Palestinian people.”

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“The African Union also demands for immediate implementation of the two-state solution,” he told many heads of state and diplomats at the official opening of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and G77+China summits hosted by veteran Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.

Expressing what he described as the “African Union’s full and unwavering support to the Palestinian people,” Faki urged all NAM states to “demand a stand for international justice and international law for all people fighting for freedom and dignity.”

‘Question over UN legitimacy’

NAM and G77+China delegates have used their gatherings -since Monday- to rebuke the Israel assault on the Gaza strip but Israel Defence Forces have vowed to press on to eliminate “Hamas militants.”

“In Ukraine, Middle East and here in Africa, crisis and conflicts are laying bare- the limits of the multilateral system, raising legitimate questions as to the value and relevance of the UN itself in terms of its ability to resolve global issues,” President of the United Nations general assembly Dennis Francis said in Kampala.

Last year, Israeli UN envoy Gilad Erdan said “UN no longer holds even one ounce of legitimacy or relevance” after the establishment encouraged a humanitarian truce barely a month into the war.

“There’s no doubt that the world is deeply fragmented, complicating the mission and undermining the traditional mechanisms adopted by the UN in addressing major problems,” Francis observed on Friday.

Earlier at the summits, the AU had made a direct plea to NAM states to protect the international law, working towards making the UN more effective.

“And while we must, out of necessity, engage in introspection and adopt more effective strategies and methods to achieve a meaningful impact, the one thing we must work hard to avoid is the loss of our ability to find common purpose and to act decisively when the moment demands,” UN responded.

Like Faki, Francis reiterated the UN position that a “negotiated political solution is the sole path through which Israelis and Palestinians will realize their fundamental right to a life of peace based on the two-state solution.”

“I renew the demand for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire and release of all hostages. This stands as the only credible course of action to authentically address and later on resolve this conflict,” he further appealed.

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“Looking to the future of the region, I reiterate my urgent call on all parties to refrain from any action that could spill over into neighboring countries.”

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