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

Report: $60 Billion Leaves Africa Illegally Each Year

Report by a joint UN and African Union panel says African countries need to take concrete measures to stop billions of dollars from illegally being moved out of continent each year More

Video Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relations

Some analysts say Russian Tu-95 bombers were flying near British airspace to warn Britain about an inquest into a murdered Russian spy More

Mugabe Defends Image Amid Controversy at Close of AU Summit

He rejects concerns about how the West might perceive his leadership, saying he's focused on African development More

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.
Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relationsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
January 31, 2015 10:50 PM
Relations between Russia and the West are set to become even more strained amid an inquiry in London into the murder of a former Russian spy. Lawyers at the inquiry accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of directing a "mafia state." Meanwhile, Royal Air Force fighters intercepted Russian bombers close to British airspace this week, prompting authorities to summon Moscow’s ambassador. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relations

Relations between Russia and the West are set to become even more strained amid an inquiry in London into the murder of a former Russian spy. Lawyers at the inquiry accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of directing a "mafia state." Meanwhile, Royal Air Force fighters intercepted Russian bombers close to British airspace this week, prompting authorities to summon Moscow’s ambassador. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Neighborhood Divided Over Conflict

People in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk districts find themselves squarely in the path of advancing Russian-backed rebels, who want to take back the territory they held at the beginning of the conflict last year. Many local residents are afraid, but others would welcome the change, even when a rebel shell lands in their neighborhood. From the Luhansk district, 15 kilometers from where the Ukrainian government marks the front line, VOA’s Al Pessin reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid