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AU Set to Discuss Resolving Conflicts

The African Union (AU) summit currently underway in Sirte, Libya is scheduled to focus on resolving the continent's political instability. Some political observers have criticized the AU for failing to address recent coups d'état in member countries.

But supporters of the continental body give it thumbs-up for refusing to recognize unconstitutional ascension to power.

Communications director Andrew Kanyegirire of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) told VOA that lack of food security could be the cause of political instability in some African countries.

"The focus of the summit has been investing in agriculture for economic growth and food security…but there has been recognition that for that to be successful, some of the issues that are going to be tabled today touch on peace and security," said Kanyegirire.

He said the idea of continental integration is not receiving much attention. But Kanyegirire welcomed President Barack Obama's policy of agricultural investment support across Africa.

"I can say in reference to the Obama administration and how it is looking at agriculture as a key entry point for stability on the continent…the visit by President Obama in Ghana, his prioritization in some range speaks to that concern," Kanyegirire said.

He disagreed with critics who say the summit is just another talk shop with no real solutions for the continent's problems.

"To be fair, it is not only the African Union. If you look at the European Union and even the G8 and quite a few others around the world where, yes, people do meet and sometimes all they do is talk…but I realized that some key decisions have been made. Every now and then you get a good decision," he said.

Meanwhile, the African Union is reportedly set to begin discussions about reasons not to cooperate with the International Criminal Court in its indictment of Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir.

The ICC issued an international arrest warrant in March against Bashir for crimes against humanity after thousands of people living in Darfur were killed. Khartoum has rejected the indictment.

The continental body claims the arrest warrant would undermine peace efforts in Darfur and urges that the indictment be deferred.