KAMPALA, July 19 (Xinhua) -- African Union (AU) Summit opened here on Monday amid heightened security following last week's terror attacks in the capital city of Kampala with peace and security likely to overshadow the official theme, maternal and child health.
The nine-day summit kicked off at Commonwealth Resort Munyonyo, in a Kampala suburb, with the opening of the 20th Ordinary Session of the Permanent Representatives Committee attended by AU Commission chairperson Jean Ping.
As the delegates accessed to the venue, security screening were put in place at various key points and intensified military and police patrol were heavily deployed in all roads leading to the venue.
Sam Kutesa, Uganda's Foreign Minister said following terror attacks in Kampala African states must work together for the establishment of peace and security in affected parts of Africa, including the fight against terrorism.
"We surely cannot allow the terrorists to succeed in their mission of instilling fear and panic among the population," said Kutesa, who is also second vice chairperson of the executive council of the AU.
"We all want a peaceful Africa, a secure Africa and a prosperous Africa," he said adding, "It is indeed all the more reason we are here to find the permanent solutions to the various challenges hindering the socio-economic transformation of Africa."
The July 11 twin bomb explosions at a rugby club and an Ethiopian restaurant where hundreds of football fans were watching the World Cup final killed over 70 people. Somali militant group al Shabaab with known links with al Qaida has claimed responsibility of the deadly attacks.
Ugandan police have arrested over 20 suspects in relation to the attacks believed to be carried out by two suspected suicide bombers, one Ugandan and one Somali, whose reconstructed photos with the help of American and Israeli investigators were made public on Sunday for more leads.
Four Ethiopians detained by the police last week were released after being questioned. Some Pakistanis were still in police custody for having contact with al Shabaab.
"I am sure that your respective foreign affairs ministers and heads of state and government will show solidarity by turning up to attend the executive council and the summit," said Kutesa.
The theme of the summit is "Maternal, Infant and Child Health and Development in Africa", which is in line with the Millennium Development Goals the AU member states subscribe to achieve by 2015.
Others to be discussed include peace and security, infrastructure, energy, agriculture and food security. The 20th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council convenes on 22-23 July and the 15th Ordinary Session of Assembly of Heads of State and Government will be held on July 25-27.
Patrick Guma, Uganda's Foreign Ministry spokesperson said over 40 heads of state and government have confirmed attendance while 49 delegations from 53 member states arrived here for the meet.