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July 22, 2013

AU to Send Panel to Investigate Situation in Egypt

by Marthe van der Wolf

An Egyptian envoy is protesting the country's suspension from the African Union, saying the decision was based on a misunderstanding of events. The AU Commission plans to send a panel to Egypt to reassess its decision.
 
Egypt says it feels its suspension from the African Union, after the military overthrew former president Mohamed Morsi early this month, should be reconsidered.
 
Special envoy Mona Omar said Egypt regrets the AU decision. She said, “We came to explain and to say that the revolution that took place in Egypt was a popular uprising, nothing of an unconstitutional change, and that we are expecting our brothers and sisters in Africa and the African Union really to support us.”

Two days after Egypt’s military toppled the Morsi government, suspended the constitution and appointed an interim president, the African Union suspended the country's membership, saying the change of government was unconstitutional.
 
AU Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said Egypt has agreed to receive a panel to investigate the situation.
 
“We have reached an understanding that they will go, they will meet, the come back, and inform the Peace and Security [Council] what they found, what they heard, and we will take it from there," said Dlamini-Zuma. "But we are very keen that Egypt should speedily come back to the family of the AU as an active member.”
 
The panel is made up of three former African presidents.
 
The Egyptian special envoy hopes the panel finds Egypt’s suspension can be lifted within the next few weeks.
 
“From our point of view, the criteria that was taken at the beginning for the prevention of Egypt from continuing was not the right one," said the envoy. "So we hope that when this panel comes, and sees the situation on the ground, we take the right decision that this is a constitutional change taking place in Egypt.”
 
Egypt’s interim government has set out a timetable for revising the constitution and holding elections to restore democratic rule.  But special envoy Omar pointed out the Muslim Brotherhood of the ousted president has rejected any participation in the process.