6 July Press Briefing Notes

Monday, 6th July 2009
Members of the Press:
• As you are already aware, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is back home from Sirte, Libya, where she has been attending the 13th Ordinary Session of Heads of State and Government of the African Union.
A few issues emerged at the end of the Summit which, among others, included a proposal for the transformation  of the African Union into an Authority, which will serve as an administrative arm of the Union.  Under the proposal, the inter-governmental agency will be headed by a President, a Vice President and eight secretaries who will collaborate with various sectors of governments on policy issues which fall within their respective areas of concentration.  The aim is to ensure common positions on issues such as defense, health, education, agriculture, foreign affairs, trade and investment, among others.
The decision to transform the Union into an Authority, in no way takes away the sovereignty of member states. In fact, it must be ratified by members states of the Union before it can come into force.
The leaders also reached a decision urging all African governments to allocate 10 percent of their annual national budget for the agricultural sector, in keeping with the Maputo declaration, which calls for 10 percent of the national budget of each member state to be allocated for agriculture production. The decision is intended to tackle the global food crisis and empower local farmers by increasing their production while at the same time providing an avenue for the small farmer to generate much needed income for produce.
• On the final report released last week by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the President is currently reviewing said report.  At this time, it would be premature to issue any statement on the report while it is still being reviewed by the President. We, therefore, beg your indulgence to allow for some time while the process takes its course, because it is important that whatever statement or comment made on the report reflects an informed opinion of the Office of the President within the context of the recommendations advance by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
I thank you.