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

Arab League Delays Forming Joint Force

Delay grows out of one of original obstacles facing pan-Arab force, analysts say: 'They may agree on the principle, but they continue to argue about how to implement the project' More

Pakistan Demands Afghanistan Protect Its Kabul Mission, Staff

Officials in Islamabad say Afghan agents are harassing Pakistani embassy personnel, particularly those living outside of mission’s compound More

US Survey: Trump Lead Grows in Republican Presidential Contest

Quinnipiac University poll shows brash billionaire real estate mogul with 28 percent support among Republican voters 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs