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Africa sets up a nuclear commission

The first of many steps towards establishing an African Commission
on Nuclear Energy, Afcone, was taken in Ethiopia in November.

Afcone would ensure compliance with the Pelindaba Treaty, and promote co-operation on peaceful uses of nuclear energy, in terms of Article 12, describing a Mechanism of Compliance. The first Conference of States Parties to the Treaty of Pelindaba, Africa's nuclear weapon free zone deal, was hosted on 4 November at the African Union (AU) Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Ramtane Lamamra, AU commissioner for Peace and Security, said the treaty was an important element of a broader strategy to implement the Common African Defence and Security Policy adopted in Libya in 2004. Therefore, the treaty is a crucial part of the overall peace and security architecture of the AU. The historic conference was attended by States Parties to the Treaty, including Algeria, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Kenya, Lesotho, Libya, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Nucleaer weapon states

Also in attendance were representatives from states that have signed, but not ratified the Treaty, including Egypt, DRC, Djibouti, Ghana, Namibia, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, Sudan and Uganda, as well as nuclear weapon states.
The First Conference endorsed the 1996 Cairo Declaration and agreed that South Africa would host the headquarters of Afcone. According to Lamamra, the body would have four key tasks;

* Create an African mechanism to ensure Parties' compliance with obligations under non proliferation requirements
* Ensure that Africa is protected from nuclear testing and dumping of nuclear materials
* Promote peaceful uses of nuclear science and technology
* Initiate outreach activities of States eligible to ratify the Treaty.

The conference elected 12 countries to represent 12 commissioners as members of Afcone, including Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Mali, Mauritius, Senegal, South Africa, Togo and Tunisia.
The next conference of State Parties would be held within six months to decide on a structure, budget and the programme for Afcone.

* Amelia Broodryk and Noel Stott, Researcher and Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Security Studies, Pretoria







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