Cotonou, Benin – About a dozen of African heads of State and government have arrived in Cotonou to attend Saturday's mini-summit of the African Union (AU) devoted to the security situation in the continent. They are presidents Idriss Déby of Chad, Denis Sassou Nguesso of Congo, Alassane Dramane Ouattara of Côte d’Ivoire, Paul Kagamé of Rwanda, Jacob Zuma of South Africa, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, Faure Essozima Gnassingbé of Togo, Issoufou Mahamadou of Niger, Ali Bongo Odimba of Gabon and Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Zenawi Meles is also in Cotonou for the summit that will review the situation in Sudan and South Sudan, the rebellion in northern Mali, the threat of the Boko Haram Islamist sect of Nigeria, as well as the Libyan issue with the proliferation of heavy and light arms which facilitate destabilisation.
The Cotonou talks will adopt a declaration on the basis of which the AU chairman, together with Africa’s former leaders, will seek solutions to the present situation in the continent.
The incumbent AU chairman, Benin's president Boni Yayi, said he was optimistic about the outcome of the crisis and the development of the continent which had huge economic potentials.
In Cotonou, in addition to the peace and security issues, the AU heads of State will look into good governance, democracy and the creation of a free trade area on the continent to develop the intra-African trade.