Friday, October 9, 2015


The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, on Wednesday appointed one of Mozambique’s top diplomats, Francisco Madeira, as her special representative for Somalia and head of the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), replacing Maman Sambo Sidikou of Niger.Since 2010, Madeira had been AU Special Representative for Counter-Terrorism Cooperation and director of the Algiers-based African Centre for Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT). At the same time he was AU special envoy for the question of the Ugandan rebel group, the Lord’s Resistance Army, between November 2011 and July 2014.In Mozambican government service, he was an ambassador to several African countries in the early 1980s, and then diplomatic advisor to President Joaquim Chissano. He was a member of the government delegation to the peace negotiations in Rome with the apartheid-backed rebel movement Renamo, held sporadically between 1990 and 1992, and which culminated in the peace agreement of 4 October 1992 which ended the war of destabilization.He was Minister in the President’s Office for Parliamentary Affairs between 1995 and 1999, and then Minister in the President’s Office for Diplomatic Affairs between 2000 and 2010. He was involved in several African peace initiatives – this included membership of the facilitation teams in the Arusha peace negotiations on Burundi (1997-2000), special envoy of Chissano (who was then AU chairperson) to Sao Tome and Principe after the July 2003 coup, and special envoy for the Comoros, first of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) and then of the AU (1997-2010).The AU press release announcing the appointment of Madeira to head AMISOM said this “comes at a time when the AU is attempting to expedite the stabilisation of Somalia, so as to pave the way for the successful holding of general elections in 2016”. “Given his experience in counter-terrorism, Ambassador Madeira is expected to give a new impetus to the campaign to neutralize al-Shabaab and other terrorist groups, building on the tremendous achievements made by AMISOM over the past few years, in particular with the recovery of many of the major cities and other strategic locations of south-central Somalia”, the release added. Madeira will be expected “to maintain constant interaction with the Federal Government of Somalia, and other Somali stakeholders”, as well as all relevant bilateral and multilateral partners, said the release.

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