Regional leaders meet Wednesday to discuss how to address the situation in the Central African Republic, where rebel forces overthrew the country's president last month.
Prime Minister Nicolas Tiangaye, who retained his post after the coup, is due to take part in the summit of the Economic Community of Central African States in Chad's capital, Ndjamena.
A South African delegation that includes President Jacob Zuma is also participating. A spokesman for South Africa's Foreign Affairs Ministry, Clayson Monyela says that the meeting is "crucial" in plotting the way forward.
"We want to preserve Africa as a zone of peace. We say no to unconstitutional change of government. We say no to people who come to power through the use of force," he said. "That's why the African Union has now taken the decision to suspend the membership of the Central African Republic as well as the decision to not recognize the rebels as a new government in the Central African Republic."
Monyela says the stability of the Central African Republic and its neighbors have to be a priority, and that any decision from the summit must support the position that unlawful seizures of power will not be allowed in Africa.
"We want to preserve this country, the Central African Republic, the region and broadly the continent as a zone of peace. And therefore coup d'etats, people who come to power through the use of force, through unconstitutional means, cannot be tolerated in this day in age," he added.
Michel Djotodia declared himself interim leader on March 25 after he and his Seleka rebel coalition overthrew President Francois Bozize. The African Union suspended the Central African Republic and has called for a return to constitutional order.
Thirteen South African soldiers died during the coup, as they attempted to block the path of thousands of fighters who poured into the CAR's capital, Bangui.