European and African leaders held their annual consultative meeting in Brussels, Belgium, as part of their wider partnership. The gathering was preceded by the fourth joint retreat, which provided a platform for informal discussions around an enhanced cooperation on conflict prevention and mediation as well as the implementation of the AU-EU Memorandum of Understanding on Peace, Security and Governance signed in May 2018.
Both sides declared they were committed to the tenets of multilateralism and the rules-based international order. They both acknowledge the importance of the cooperation with the United Nations especially in the area of conflict prevention where political cooperation needs to be translated into concrete initiatives. The EU and AU wants to see joint field visits, joint sessions, developing understanding and analysis of crises situations as well as investigate avenues for joint early action. They also stress the importance of women and youth as active players in conflict prevention.
Most conflict discussions orbited the threats to peace and stability in the Mali/Sahel, the Central African Republic (CAR), the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), South Sudan, Somalia and Burundi. On the situation in Mali and the Sahel, the EU and AU welcomed the peaceful holding of the presidential elections and called on Malian authorities and all stakeholders to promote sustainable and inclusive peace and development in the country. The EU also identified the need to disarm, demobilize and reintegrate (DDR) former combatants in order to bring security to Sahel’s northern regions.