The 37th African Summit prevented an Israeli delegation from attending its sessions (Al Jazeera)

Addis Ababa -

The 37th African Summit of Heads and Governments of Member States of the African Union, which concluded its work yesterday, Sunday, in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, dealt with several hot and important topics and files at the international and continental levels, most prominently solidarity with Gaza and condemnations of Israel.

Its internal agenda focused on the continent's challenges, including security crises, conflicts, coups, integration, institutional reform, and climate.

Last Saturday, the summit began under the slogan “African education keeps pace with the 21st century,” with the participation of 34 African leaders and heads of states and governments, and in a prominent Arab presence, presented by the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, and the Palestinian Prime Minister, Muhammad Shtayyeh, while an Israeli delegation that tried to infiltrate the Council’s sessions was expelled. Ministerial last Wednesday.

34 African leaders and heads of states and governments participated in the summit amid a prominent Arab presence (Al Jazeera)

Gaza is at the forefront

African solidarity with the Palestinian people and the Gaza issue topped the African summit, while Israel faced a ban from attending the opening summit sessions as a result of its aggression against the Gaza Strip, followed by conflicts, crises and coups despite what the African peoples expected from their leaders in terms of security solutions and political decisions.

The Chairman of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki, described what Gaza is being exposed to as genocide, and said that the International Court of Justice’s decision regarding genocide crimes committed by Israel is “a victory for all countries that support the Palestinian cause.”

In a speech at the opening session, Faki affirmed support for South Africa’s position and the necessity of implementing international justice resolutions and stopping the killing in the Gaza Strip. He said, “Gaza is being completely annihilated and its people are deprived of all their rights.”

The speech of the Palestinian Prime Minister, Muhammad Shtayyeh, at the summit stated, “Greetings to Africa from the land of Palestine. Greetings from the 28,000 martyrs, most of whom are women and children. Thank you to the African Union, which hears the voice of truth and freedom and hosts Palestine on the highest African platform.”

He added, "The African Union was right when it prevented the Zionist entity from being granted observer status and prevented the infiltration of its representatives into this forum last year."

Last Thursday, an African diplomatic source revealed - to Al Jazeera Net - that the Union prevented an Israeli delegation from entering the organization’s headquarters, which had requested meetings with African officials to present its point of view on the developments of the war in Gaza.

The delegation had tried to attend the 36th African Summit held in Addis Ababa in 2023, before the Union refused to do so due to the objection of several African countries, led by South Africa and Algeria.

The African Summit welcomed temporary and urgent international justice measures against Israel (Al Jazeera)

Supporting courses

The summit's decisions also focused on the situation in Palestine and came in support of the Palestinian cause and condemned the brutal Israeli actions against the people of Gaza.

In its final statement, yesterday, Sunday, the summit called for an independent international investigation into Israel’s use of internationally banned weapons in its war in Gaza and its violation of international humanitarian law by targeting hospitals, medical centers, and media institutions, and demanded the lifting of the unjust siege imposed on the Gaza Strip.

In its final decisions - which were obtained by Al Jazeera Net - it welcomed the urgent temporary measures ordered by international justice and called for the need for Israel to comply with its obligations to prevent and punish the crime of genocide.

In a statement, the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) welcomed the summit’s final statement “calling for an end to the aggression against our people and the policy of collective punishment,” while observers described it as strong and expressive of the African position in supporting the Palestinian people and the Gaza Strip against the Israeli aggression.

Journalist and researcher in African Union affairs, Ahmed Ibrahim, told Al Jazeera Net that the African Summit statement represents true support and solidarity with the Palestinian people, and that the Union has continued to support the just Palestinian cause and has proven - through its summit statement - that it is still committed to the covenant.

On the other hand, the continent is besieged by security challenges and haunted by unconstitutional changes. Its leaders are preoccupied with the institutional reforms of the Union, the status of peace and security in Africa, including climate change and education.

Leaders at this summit paid special attention to education and training, with a focus on the theme “African Education for the 21st Century: Building Flexible Education Systems to Increase Access to Comprehensive, Quality, and Relevant Lifelong Learning for Africa.”


Commission President Moussa Faki highlighted some of the critical concerns facing the continent, including peace, political and institutional instability, climate change, economic governance deficits, integration challenges, poverty, and the marginalization of women and youth in development and leadership processes.

In his speech, he stressed the urgent need for member states to deal proactively with these issues, stressing their importance in achieving the aspirations of Agenda 2063 for a transformed and prosperous Africa.

He noted the progress made in institutional reforms and the strides made in regional integration, through the African Continental Free Trade Area, the Peace Fund, common African positions on climate change, global governance reform, financing of African peacekeeping missions, and the notable accession of the African Union to the G-4 Forum. The twentieth.

The summit, whose rotating presidency was transferred from the President of the Comoros, Ghazali Ousmani, to the Mauritanian President, Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, was absent for the first time in more than 4 African summits, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, while its guest of honor was the Brazilian President, Lula da Silva.

It also witnessed the absence of 6 African countries whose membership was suspended due to coups, namely Gabon and Niger, and before them Mali, Guinea, Sudan and Burkina Faso, since 2021 and 2022.

The specter of terrorism, coups and crises still haunts the continent, as the African Union Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Bankole Adeoye, said that the security situation on the continent is worrying due to the spread of violence, extremism, terrorism and unconstitutional changes, stressing the lack of tolerance for coups.

Adeoye explained, during a press conference held yesterday, Sunday, that the African Union is working within a multiple strategy that addresses the roots of terrorism on the African coast, and many security and political files that are troubling Africans. He pointed to the dispute between Addis Ababa and Mogadishu and stressed that they are working with the governments of Somalia and Ethiopia to find a solution to the crisis.

He touched on the crisis in Sudan and said that it is a top priority for the African Union this year, and that they are working with IGAD and the United Nations to find a solution to it through a high-level team that begins its work immediately after the summit with the participation of all stakeholders in Sudan to end the war.

Source: Al Jazeera