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Compromise Over African Union Chairmanship
ISSUE 210
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African Delegates Raise Their ‎Opinions On Somaliland’s Status

Director Of Hargeysa Water Agency ‎Briefs Guurti’s House Committee For ‎The Agency’s 2005 Annual Report ‎‎

“Abdillahi Jawan” Calls On Opposing Sides ‎Fighting In Yo’ale (Ethiopia) To Seize All Hostilities‎‎

An Ethiopian Delegation Led By The ‎Minister Of Transport And Communication ‎Will Arrive Today In Somaliland‎‎

Somaliland: Elusive Independence‎

Two British MPs Ask Questions On ‎Issues Concerning About Somaliland‎

US Policy Towards Somaliland Changes For The Better

Local & Regional Affairs

Hargeysa Consultative Workshop 16-18 January 2006‎ Communiqué

Gunmen Kill Two Somali Ex-Colonels‎

Compromise Over African Union Chairmanship

ETHIOPIA: CPJ Condemns Expulsion Of ‎Leading Foreign Journalist

Somalia: US Troops Wage Peace ‎Mission In East African Coast‎‎

Somalia New Front For Osama Hunt

Denmark Writes Off Nigeria's Debt‎

Report: Somaliland And The Torfaen ‎Summit 1‎

Little-Known Dimension To War On ‎Terrorism Is Playing Out In East Africa

THE BETTER HALF‎

Editorial
Letter To The Editor

International News

Suspected Pirates Captured Off Somali Coast‎‎‎‎‎‎‎

Yemen Terrorism Talks With UK‎‎

Muslim Cleric Faces Charges In Washington

Hijacked Fishing Boat Freed In Somalia

Seattle Imam’s Case In Legal Limbo

FEATURES & COMMENTARY

Do African Leaders Hear The Cries Of Hungry ‎Children As They Savior On French Gourmet

Mvela's Ophir Holds Somaliland Cards ‎Close To Its Chest‎‎

Africa Survives Test Of Diplomacy

Somalilanders In Cardiff First Arrived ‎‎1880s Settled 1950s‎

Notice Board

Opinions

The Sool loses ‎

Watch Out For Rayale’s Improved And ‎Enhanced Teeth Made In Germany

The Role Of Political Parties In The Multi-‎Party System: The Case Of Somaliland‎‎‎

Joint Needs Assessment And Its ‎Implications For Somaliland‎

Can Minister Of Finance Present An Honest ‎Revenue Estimates To New Parliament ‎During 2006 Budget Discussions?‎‎‎

The Development Routes Of Somaliland


Nairobi, January 24 2006 (Financial Times) – African leaders reached a compromise deal on Tuesday by agreeing that the Republic of Congo would takeover the African Union chairmanship instead of Sudan, whose candidacy had sparked controversy and divisions.

Khartoum is hosting the AU summit and the host has traditionally taken up the rotating chair. But many condemned the idea of having Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir in the seat because of Sudan’s poor human rights record and the conflict in Darfur, western Sudan, where Khartoum has been accused of genocide by the US.

After hours of meetings and debate, which split Africa’s leaders, it was agreed that Denis Sassou-Nguesso, Congo’s president, would replace Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo as chairman.

Sudan would then takeover in 2007, officials said. It was not immediately clear if there were any conditions to the deal.

The compromise reflected the regional politics of the continent, with Congo, a central African nation taking over from a west African country, and recognition that having Mr. al-Bashir as Africa’s leading diplomat would damage the AU’s credibility.

“It’s a facing-saving compromise, but it’s better than nothing,” said Kent Degerfelt, the EU ambassador to Khartoum. “Not everybody is happy with it but at least in theory there’s the possibility that there could be peace agreement in Darfur by 2007.”

If Mr. al-Bashir had become chair it would also have severely compromised the AU’s efforts to broker a peaceful solution to the Darfur crisis, where tens of thousands have been killed and 2m forced from their homes since rebels launched an insurgency in 2003. The AU is mediating Darfur peace talks and has deployed a 7,000-strong peacekeeping mission in the region.

“It’s not a question of what Congo Brazzaville brings to the table, the important thing is what it doesn’t bring; human rights violations, genocide allegations and obstruction of AU peacemaking, all the things that Sudan represents,” said Peter Kagwanja, analyst at the International Crisis Group. “It’s an indication that the AU system is working, that the system is conscious of if its vision.”

However, Congo also has a turbulent history, blighted by violence, and despite the introduction of multiparty politics in the 1990s, Mr. Sassou-Nguesso seized power himself in a 1997 coup. Still, his record is deemed better than Mr. al-Bashir’s.

The AU was formed in 2002 to replace the largely toothless Organization of African Unity with a remit to become more actively engaged in the continent’s problems.

But simply by holding the summit in Khartoum the AU courted controversy. On Sunday, Sudanese security forces detained for several hours a number of human rights campaigners who were holding a parallel meeting. Those detained included five EU staff with diplomatic identities, Mr. Degerfelt said.

On a separate issue, African leaders decided that a special committee would be appointed to present options to the next AU summit in six months on how Hissene Habre, the former Chadian dictator accused of atrocities, could be tried in Africa rather than extradited to Belgium.

Following a four-year investigation by a Belgian judge, an international arrest warrant was issued against Mr. Habré, who lives in exile in Senegal, in September. But a Senegalese court said that it had no jurisdiction to rule on the Belgian extradition request and Senegal referred the matter to the AU.

 


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