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Republic of Congo to Lead African Union


African Union officials say the Republic of Congo will be named head of the African Union this year and Sudan will take the A.U. chair in 2007 under a compromise reached early Tuesday.

The officials say the decision resolves an impasse among summit delegates in Khartoum over host-country Sudan's bid for the chairmanship.

The A.U. summit host country usually chairs the organization. But human rights groups objected to Sudan's bid because of violence and abuses in the Darfur region. Five African leaders made a formal request for President Omar al-Bashir to forgo the post.

Late Monday, officials appointed five African nations to pick a new chair candidate to propose to the 53-nation body on Tuesday.

Tens of thousands of people in Darfur have been killed in fighting between government-backed Arab militias (known as Janjaweed) and rebel forces.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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