News / Africa

Malawi Cancels AU Summit Over Bashir Controversy

Supporters wave flags as Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir addresses a rally in Khartoum, Sudan, April 18, 2012.Supporters wave flags as Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir addresses a rally in Khartoum, Sudan, April 18, 2012.
x
Supporters wave flags as Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir addresses a rally in Khartoum, Sudan, April 18, 2012.
Supporters wave flags as Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir addresses a rally in Khartoum, Sudan, April 18, 2012.
Gabe Joselow
NAIROBI - Malawian Vice President Khumbo Kachali said Friday the African Union will relocate an upcoming heads of state summit following his country's refusal to host war crimes suspect Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. 

Malawi's leaders have said they would have to arrest Mr. Bashir on an International Criminal Court warrant if he came to the country.

Speaking on state radio,  Kachali said the country's cabinet based their decision on “what is best in the interest of Malawians.”

Malawi has previously asked the African Union not to invite Sudanese President Bashir, but the AU has said it is not up to the host country to make that decision.  Kachali said the AU told him the summit will be moved to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Mr. Bashir is wanted by the the International Criminal Court on charges that he masterminded a campaign of murder, rape and other crimes against civilians in the Darfur region of Sudan. Sudan's government has been fighting rebels there since 2003.

The decision to cancel the summit is both a gain and a loss for Malawi, said Billy Banda, the head of the human rights organization Malawi Watch.

“Malawi as a country, it has made a decision because it wanted to show collective responsibility with the cooperating -- international world on the issue of Bashir," said Banda.  "But for Malawi, we are concerned because most Malawians would have had the opportunity to exchange and have interactions with many other leaders in the NGO sectors, in the various sectors, in the business sectors."

Malawi had reason to be concerned about the implications of a Bashir visit.

The country drew criticism from rights groups and international donors when it hosted Mr. Bashir for another regional summit last year, during the administration of the late Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika.

A U.S. development agency cited that visit in its decision to freeze $350 million in aid to Malawi.

Mr. Mutharika died of a heart attack in April, and his successor, President Joyce Banda, has been seeking to improve international relations.

Malawian opposition leader Kamuzu Chibambo of the People's Transformation Party said he supports the government's decision, and blames the African Union for not being willing to compromise.

“I must say that I'm disappointed that the AU would take such a harsh measure on account of one country and one head of state," Chibambo said. "When you look at the developments that have led to the arrest warrant being issued, I think all of us, we share those concerns."

At least two other African nations, South Africa and Zambia, have promised to arrest the Sudanese president if he tries to visit.  Countries that Mr. Bashir has visited since the ICC warrant was issued include Kenya, China, Chad, Djibouti, Libya, and Egypt.

Lameck Masina contributed to this report from Blantyre, Malawi.


Related: analyst Hussein Solomon of the U. of Free State (South Africa)
Related: analyst Hussein Solomon of the U. of Free State (South Africa)i
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X



 

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Joe Flomo Matthew from: Cleveland, Ohio USA
June 09, 2012 2:38 PM
Thank you Malawi. For once an African nation has stood among the crowd and said NO! You are an independent nation and no one should tell you what to do. Let those cowards take their toothless summit to Addis Ababa. You have won admirations around the world. I think your action speaks volume and can only be viewed as being independent.


by: African from: Africa
June 08, 2012 3:27 PM
Time for Jean Ping to vacate and let another leader take over the mantle from Mr. Ping, for he has done enough for Africa during his tenure, and his services are highly appreciated. We would have liked to keep him for another term, however, the direction the continent takes requires more upto date leadership with the nation's backing. Its my humble opinion that South Africa has presented the most qualified candidate for the position, hence we ought to endorse her to guide Africa in the coming period.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid