Saturday, July 05, 2008

African Union Summit Reports: Union Government Will Take Off in January; Libya Hails Results; New Mediator in Sudan

'Union Government will take off in January'

Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt (PANA) - Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade has said the African federal government will be set up next January by those countries that are ready to do so.

"We are going to announce the Union Government next January," Wade said on Convergence FM, a Dakar (Senegal)-based radio station.

The announcement followed a compromise reached on the issue here by African leaders, who directed the chairman of AU the Commission, Jean Ping, to draw up a report on the road map and mechanism for the establishment of a continental government.

Ping is expected to present his report during the next AU summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in January 2009.

Wade said: "20 states had committed to immediately announce the Union government. Nobody dared oppose that even though we know some people are using baseless arguments to make us get nowhere.

"We will be waiting until January to dedicate a special day to the issue."

At the January summit, the heads of state and government have resolved to dedicate a full day to discuss Ping's report and decide on the implementation of the government.

The countries that are pushing for an immediate take-off of the Union Government, including Libya, Egypt, Senegal, Sudan, Gabon and Mali, have agreed to meet in Dakar, Senegal, or in Libreville, Gabon, to formalise their decision.

Ahead of the summit, Libyan leader Muammar Ghaddafi had threatened to expose those he said were hampering the establishment of the Union Government.

He said those advocating a gradualist approach to the issue were only thwarting African unity.

Libyan Leader Hails Outcome of AU Summit in Egypt

Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt (PANA) - Libyan leader Muammar Kadhafi has hailed the "positive outcome" of the 11th summit of the African Union (AU) which ended on Tuesday in the Egyptian seaside resort of Sharm El-Sheikh.

Addressing the closing session of the African leaders' conference, Kadhafi said that the Sharm El-Sheikh summit had addressed very important issues on Africa's future "such as the formation of the (African) federal government towards the establishment of the United States of Africa, problems related to food, water and climate change"

"All these issues were discussed thoroughly in a peaceful and democratic atmosphere," the Libyan leader said.

Kadhafi expressed deep satisfaction with the important decision reached by the summit on the formation of the African federal government, noting that the next summit in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) would make it possible for Africans to carry out the final act formalising the continental government.

The summit directed the AU Commission chairman, Jean Ping, to set up a mechanism for the road map for setting up the Union Government and to report on this issue during the pan-African organisation's next summit in January 2009 in the Ethiopian capital.

"We are progressing with confidence in our right for life and in the huge possibilities of the continent. Africa is a rich continent and more specifically the richest in the world," the Libyan leader claimed.

UN, AU appoint new mediator for Darfur

New York, UN (PANA) - The United Nations (UN) and African Union (AU) have appointed Burkina Faso's Foreign Minister, Djibril Bassole, as the new joint UN-AU Chief Mediator for Darfur.

In a statement issued in New York on Tuesday, the UN said Bassole would work to mediate between the Sudanese government and Darfur rebels.

It said the new envoy would work on a full-time basis from El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur state and headquarters of the hybrid UN-AU peacekeeping force in the region (UNAMID).

It, however, said the current UN and AU Special Envoys for Darfur, Jan Eliasson and Salim Ahmed Salim respectively, would remain available for advice and engagement as required.

UN spokesperson Michele Montas told reporters that Bassole, 51, has extensive experience in conflict mediation and multilateral diplomacy.

She said the envoy had played an important role in negotiating the Ouagadougou peace agreement signed last year between Côte d'Ivoire's President Laurent Gbagbo and the rebel Forces Nouvelles leader, now Prime Minister, Guillaume Soro.

The appointment comes as Eliasson and Salim last week questioned the commitment of the armed groups to end the five-year old conflict.

Insecurity and unrest have continued to plague Darfur, an arid and impoverished region on Sudan's western flank, and attempts to broker a peace deal have been hampered by the splintering of the many rebel movements.

No comments: