News

AU Bars Mauritania, Guinea; Condemns Pending ICC Warrant for Bashir

The African Union has barred delegates from Mauritania and Guinea from attending the continental summit, saying recent military coups had disqualified them from membership. The body is also warning against the pending International Criminal Court arrest warrant for the president of Sudan.

The chairman of the AU Executive Council, Tanzanian Foreign Minister Bernard Membe stood up at the opening of a pre-summit ministers meeting Thursday to announce that Mauritanian and Guinean delegations had been refused admission.

"According to the constitutive act they have automatically suspended themselves from the AU so we have two empty chairs, from Mauritania and Guinea," said Membe. "And I hope these chairs will remain empty until their issues are resolved."

Membe called on other AU members to impress upon the Guinean and Mauritanian delegations that the kinds of military coups once common in Africa would no longer be tolerated.

"Some delegates from those countries are outside this building, or in the hotel we are living in," he said. "I encourage my colleagues and members of the executive council to tell them there is no good coup or bad coup. A coup is a coup and it cannot be tolerated, and they can be admissible in the house if they would come with truly democratic elected representatives of those two countries, Africa has had enough."

In a hard-hitting speech marking the end of Tanzania's one-year AU presidency, Membe made it clear the continental body would oppose any move by the International Criminal Court to indict Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir. He said the pending ICC action would undermine the work of peacekeepers soon to be deployed in Darfur.

"The solution we are seeking in Darfur must seek the government cooperation, and the government cooperation of Sudan cannot come if we are deploying our troops at the same time when President Bashir is indicted," he said. "It will bring a contradiction and the peace process will be brought to a halt."

Speaking in Addis Ababa, the Tanzanian minister praised the work of Ethiopian troops and African Union peacekeepers in Somalia over the past two years. Ethiopia pulled its troops out this month, leaving a security vacuum that has largely been filled by Islamist extremists. Membe  publicly chided other African nations that have failed to deliver on pledges of troops for the AU AMISOM force.

"We had countries that had pledged to send troops to Somalia in order to cover the gap," he said. "We had Nigeria, Ghana, Burundi, Malawi and Uganda.  Uganda and Burundi have met their obligations, and we still have a deficit of 6,000 soldiers to make up the 8,000 that were required to be in Somalia, and I'm taking this opportunity to [request] my colleagues to fulfill their obligations so we do not create a vacuum after the Ethiopian troops have vacated Somalia."

AU Commission Chairman Jean Ping told reporters Wednesday that Nigeria and possibly others will announce troop contributions during the upcoming African heads of state meeting. But several diplomats and observers at this meeting say it may be too late. Islamist extremists have already taken over many positions held by the departing Ethiopians, including the provisional seat of parliament, Baidoa, and imposed strict Sharia law.

AU officials speak hopefully about the political process currently under way in Djibouti, where Somali lawmakers are meeting. They are expected to elect a new transitional president Friday, in time for him to attend the summit's opening session Sunday.

But they acknowledge that the new leader, whoever he may be, faces a monumental task in establishing the government's authority. Islamists currently control large areas of the Horn of Africa country, while 10,000 government troops and 3,500 African Union peacekeepers hold little more than a few blocks in the capital, Mogadishu.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs