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Southern African States Trade Sovereignty for Security

Southern African leaders ended a regional summit Tuesday with a new mutual security pact that will permit member states to intervene and stop an internal conflict to prevent it destabilizing other countries. The pact, which effectively limits an individual country’s sovereignty, enshrines the principle of strong joint action to enforce peace, and officials of the 14-member Southern African Development Community said they hoped this would avert civil war in the region. Under the pact, a conflict within any SADC country would automatically invite a response from other members. Diplomatic, political or military means, or a combination of all three, would be used to end civil war in a member, officials said. The agreement provides for regional intervention but opposes coups and suggests that SADC members would aim to restore “constitutional order.” It does not set up a new regional peacekeeping force, though existing African Union plans envisage such a force. An SADC body equivalent to the U.N. Security Council would take the hard decisions on intervention after reviewing each case that might require it, SADC officials said. Full Story

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