News / Africa

AU Official Anticipates Stronger Ties at US-Africa Summit

AU Deputy Chairperson Erastus Mwencha and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry
AU Deputy Chairperson Erastus Mwencha and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry
James Butty

A senior official of the African Union said next month’s U.S.-Africa Summit in Washington should provide Africa and the United States an opportunity to enter into a strategic partnership.

Erastus Mwencha, deputy chairperson of the AU Commission said African leaders look forward to discussing with President Barack Obama issues such as investing in the continent’s future and peace and security.  

The summit is scheduled to take place August 5 and 6.  

He said the U.S.-Africa summit is a great opportunity for Africa to enhance cooperation with the United States, the world’s largest economy.

“Africa and the United States share a lot in common, in heritage and cooperation in many areas. As you know, many people of African descent live in the United States.  And so, this is a good occasion for Africa to chart a new paradigm in terms of cooperation.  And so, a summit that brings President Barack Obama and many heads of state and government from Africa is an excellent opportunity to bring closer the two peoples – that is the United States of America people and African people,” Mwencha said.

He said the African Union will bring content to the key issues of discussion at the summit – investing in the future and looking at the issue of peace and security.

“Africa has strategic partnerships with many regions of the world, with Europe, with Asia, even with Latin America, but this kind of relationship doesn’t exist with the United States of America.  And so, this will be an opportunity for Africa to establish the kind of cooperation,” Mwencha said.

Mwencha also defended the AU’s decision at its May summit in Equatorial Guinea to grant immunity to sitting heads of state, despite criticism by some rights groups that such a decision runs contrary to the fight against impunity.  

Mwencha said the decision is in line with what is done around the world where sitting heads of state are immune from prosecution.

“Serving heads of state and government were granted immunity, and that is in line with the African Court of Justice (ACJ) when it was given a mandate to try officials accused of committing crimes against humanity,” he said.

Mwencha said the AU decision does not deviate from what is done by most countries where serving heads of state are immune from prosecution while they are serving.

“During the time you are serving, those cases will remain active.  If there is crime, those leaders will be tried once they leave office,” he said.

African leaders have accused the International Criminal Court (ICC) of disproportionately targeting Africans for prosecution, and the ACJ was set up to handle human rights and justice issues on the continent.

Mwencha denied the decision to grant immunity to sitting African leaders accused of human rights violation or crimes against humanity was in repudiation of the ICC.

“I don’t think one should talk about a reaction because, as I said, if you look at many jurisdictions at the national level, heads of state and government are not indicted before their own courts. And so, that is not limited to just Africa.  You go around the world, even where you are in the United States that is the case.  So, that is not in many ways a reaction.  That is the reality of life,” he said.

Butty interview with Mwencha
Butty interview with Mwenchai
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

 

                   

You May Like

Beijing Warns Hong Kong Protesters, Cracks Down at Home

In suppressing protest news, China reportedly has arrested more than 20 people on the mainland who acted in support of Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters More

Competing Goals Could Frustrate Efforts to Fight Islamic State

As alliances shift and countries re-define themselves, analysts say long-standing goals of some key players in Middle East may soon compete with Western goals More

Child Sexual Exploitation to Worsen in SE Asia

Southeast Asia’s planned economic integration is a key step for boosting the region’s productivity, but carries downsides as well More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid