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First Intellectual Forum wraps up in Khartoum

FIRST INTELLECTUAL FORUM WRAPS UP IN KHARTOUM

The First Intellectual Forum, which featured numerous speakers from Africa's political, intelligence and security communities, wrapped up on Thursday in the Sudanese capital.

Held at Khartoum's High Academy for Strategic and Security Studies, the conference was held under the banner "Political stability in Africa: Constraints and prospects for the future".

The two-day event officially kicked off on Wednesday with an opening speech by former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo.

In his opening remarks, Obasanjo described the event as Africa's "first forum to bring intellectuals together with intelligence officers to strategize with each other".

"Political stability and security belong together," he said. "You can't have political stability if there is insecurity."

Afterwards, Mohamed Atta al-Moula Abbas, head of Sudan's National Intelligence and Security Services, gave a speech in which he proposed a new "pan-African security architecture" aimed at forging strategic partnerships across the continent.

"The issue of political stability is the most important and common concern of all African countries today," Abbas said.

Sudanese Prime Minister Bakri Hassan Saleh, for his part, stressed the need to focus on political stability in Africa with a view to "paving the way for the economic growth of our countries".

According to former Tanzanian President Ali Hassan Mwinyi, who spoke at the forum's opening ceremony, Africa is currently home to 29 different armed conflicts and countless separatist groups -- all of which, he lamented, serve to destabilize the continent.

Many speakers blasted Western states for contributing to the destabilization of Africa. Most panelists who spoke at the forum rejected Western attempts at regime change in Africa and Western support for various separatist movements.

Mohamed Ibrahim, Nigeria's ambassador to Sudan and forum participant, told Anadolu Agency: "After 54 African states achieved independence, 10 foreign states built military bases all over the continent."

The U.S. military, he went on to assert, "is using African countries as bases for staging drone attacks outside Africa".

On Thursday, Joseph Chilengi, presiding officer of the Economic, Social and Cultural Council of the African Union, presented the forum's final communiqué, along with a list of recommendations.

In his closing remarks, Chilengi referred to Sudan's contemporary political history, commending Khartoum's recently concluded National Dialogue initiative.

Forum attendees, he noted, had also called for a "Comprehensive African Dialogue" tasked with tackling issues related to peacebuilding and inter- and intra-state reconciliation.

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