President Cyril Ramaphosa attended the unveiling ceremony of the statue of former Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie, organised by the African Union (AU) during the 32nd ordinary session of the assembly of heads of state and government at the AU new complex in Addis Ababa.
“The commemorative statue of emperor Haile Selassie is an important recognition of the emperor’s contribution to Africa’s liberation and unity leading up to the founding of the Organisation of African Unity in 1963,” the international relations and cooperation department said in a statement on Sunday.
Earlier, the presidency said Ramaphosa had arrived at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa on Saturday to lead a high-level South African delegation at the AU session.
The session was scheduled to take place from February 10 to 11 under the theme “The year of refugees, returnees, and international displaced persons – towards durable solutions to forced displacement in Africa”, the presidency said in a statement.
“It presents an invaluable opportunity to reflect on and address the root causes of forced displacement in Africa,” it said.
The summit was expected to deliberate on a number of other issues, including the institutional reform and financing of the continental body; peace and security on the continent, developments related to the African continental free trade area, and negotiations for a new cooperation agreement between the African, Caribbean, and Pacific developing countries and the European Union post 2020.
South Africa intended to submit its Instrument of ratification of the agreement on the African continental free trade area during the summit.
“In addition, consideration will also be given to the election of the chairperson of the AU for 2020 – a position that will rotate to the southern region, the election of five members of the AU peace and security council, the appointment of one member of the AU commission on international law, and of one member of the African committee of experts on the rights and welfare of the child.”
On Saturday afternoon, Ramaphosa attended a meeting of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) heads of state and government on the margins of the AU summit.
The meeting received reports on the consolidation of SADC political efforts in supporting SADC member states and progress made in the implementation of the institutional reform of the African Union and in post Cotonou partnership agreement negotiations.
Ramaphosa was being accompanied by International Relations and Cooperation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, State Security Minister Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni, Home Affairs Minister Siyabonga Cwele, Environmental Affairs Minister Nomvula Mokonyane, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, Public Service and Administration Minister Ayanda Dlodlo, and Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, the presidency said.