News / Africa

    AU Summit Expected to Focus on Ivory Coast, Sudan

    AU Summit Expected to Focus on Ivory Coast, Sudan
    AU Summit Expected to Focus on Ivory Coast, Sudan

    "Shared Values" is the nominal theme of an African Union summit beginning this week in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa.  But as always, the summit theme is being overshadowed by pressing issues of peace and security.  

    This 16th AU summit is expected to draw approximately 25 heads of state and government from among its 53 member countries.  Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir will be here, Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe will try to maintain his perfect attendance record, and other regulars such as Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi are also expected.

    The summit will open with a discussion on shared values, such as human rights and the rights of citizens to a representative democracy.

    Critics say these summits often serve as a platform from which African dictators and rights abusers portray themselves as champions of peoples’ rights while ignoring those values back home.

    They point to an AU meeting four years ago at which leaders agreed to a landmark convention setting out rules for the democratic transfer of power, and another in 2009 on the rights of internally displaced people.  Both were signed with great fanfare, but have not gone into force because member state parliaments have failed to ratify them.

    The chairman of an AU advisory board on corruption, Berhe Costantinos, says the continental body’s failure to live up to the grand promises of its leaders is causing a credibility gap.

    "The AU is in crisis because most of the conventions that would ensure democratic development and people’s rights have not been ratified, and if they have been ratified they have never been implemented," Costantinos said.

    The summit is also due to take up several urgent political issues.  A special mini-summit on Ivory Coast is slated for Sunday, co-chaired by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan and AU Commission Chairman Jean Ping.

    Ivory Coast will not be represented formally at the summit.  Its AU  membership was suspended when the incumbent president, Laurent Gbagbo refused to step down after losing a November 28 election.  But AU diplomats say representatives of president-elect Alassane Ouattara may be allowed to make a presentation Friday at a special heads-of-state meeting of the AU Peace and Security Council.

    The Peace and Security Council meeting may also hear from special AU mediator for Ivory Coast Thabo Mbeki.  A Johannesburg newspaper this week quoted what it said was a leaked copy of the former South African president’s report, which said only a face-to-face dialogue between the two would-be presidents could break the country’s political deadlock.

    A second mini-summit on Sudan will feature both President Bashir and Southern Sudanese leader Salva Kir.  But Western observers say the focus is likely to be on Darfur, rather than the recent southern Sudanese independence referendum.  

    African ambassadors say the summit is likely to approve a statement expressing deep regret at the U.N. Security Council’s decision not to defer International Criminal Court indictments against Sudan’s President Bashir.

    That follows last month’s call by Kenya’s parliament for a pullout from the ICC to protest indictments against six prominent Kenyans suspected of masterminding the ethnic violence that followed the country’s 2007 presidential election.

    Kenyan officials say they will ask the summit to approve a resolution urging the Security Council to order suspension of the Kenyan prosecutions. But they will not follow parliament’s call for a withdrawal from the ICC.

    In addition to U.N. Secretary-General Ban, a number of prominent non-African dignitaries are scheduled to attend.  French President Nicolas Sarkozy will deliver the keynote summit address.

    The U.S. delegation will be led by Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg.  The non-governmental U.S. contingent includes Microsoft chairman and philanthropist Bill Gates.

    You May Like

    Chechen Suspected in Istanbul Attack, but Questions Remain

    Turkish sources say North Caucasus militants involved in bombing at Ataturk airport, but name of at least one alleged attacker raises doubts

    With Johnson Out, Can a New ‘Margaret Thatcher’ Save Britain?

    Contest to replace David Cameron as Britain’s prime minister started in earnest Thursday with top candidates outlining strategy to deal with Brexit fallout

    US Finds Progress Slow Against Human Trafficking in Africa

    Africa continues to be a major source and destination for human trafficking of all kinds -- from forced labor to sexual slavery, says State Department report

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Eitheri
    X
    Jim Malone
    June 29, 2016 6:16 PM
    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora