SUDAN WATCH: AU Summit news reports - AU chair calls for co-operation between AU, UN

Saturday, July 01, 2006

AU Summit news reports - AU chair calls for co-operation between AU, UN

Alpha Omar Konare, the African Union (AU) commission chairperson, has called for co-operation between the AU and the UN to ensure peace in conflict areas such as Somalia, Chad and Sudan. He was addressing the opening ceremony of the AU Heads of State Summit under way in the Gambian capital Banjul, SABC reported July 1, 2006.


Snippets from some other news reports on the summit (more to be added here later, as and when I find them):

From AP's Heidi Vogt:
Even if resolutions are passed, African Union members aren't beholden to them and the body has little funding to pursue independent action.

"We think the African Union could be supported," rather than replaced, said Taj Elsir Mahjoub, a Sudanese delegate in Banjul.
From SABC/Reuters:
Konare said the Darfur situation was strongly influenced by tensions between Chad and Sudan, which have accused each other of supporting rebels on their territories. Chad said it was expelling all the Chadian members of an AU-peacekeeping force in Darfur.

Obstacles facing the AU

Konare said the AU should give "large-scale support" to Somalia's weak interim government, and encourage dialogue with Islamists now controlling Mogadishu and a large swathe of the country after defeating secular, US-backed warlords.

Despite the strong desire of African leaders to deal with Somalia and Darfur, it was clear after the preparatory meeting of foreign ministers earlier this week that there are big obstacles to a breakthrough on either issue.

In Darfur, the AU wants to hand over peacekeeping duties from its own under-resourced force of 7 000 troops to UN soldiers by September 30. But on Thursday, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, the Sudanese president, who is attending the summit, issued the latest in a series of uncompromising rejections of a UN deployment.

No leverage to pressure Bashir

Meanwhile, Western and African diplomats have said that despite widespread revulsion over massacres, rape and pillage in Darfur, the international community had hardly any leverage to pressure Bashir, whose consent is needed for a UN force.
African Union Commission Chairman Alpha Oumar Konare directed delegates' attention to the desperate situation in Darfur in Sudan, and Somalia, where a hard-line Islamist regime is increasingly holding sway. He blamed rampant poverty for Africa's crises. [Sudan Watch ed: Is poverty really the reason or is it more to do with poor management and no legal/land rights among the poor? See Exclusive interview with Peruvian economist, Hernando de Soto: The poor are not the problem but the solution -- and What's Missing in the Darfur Sudan Debate: Addressing Property Rights Could Help Bring Peace]

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who is from the West African nation of Ghana, told the leaders assembled in Gambia that the Darfur crisis is 'one of the worst nightmares in recent history.'
From Garowe /Somali news wires:
The President of the self-declared Republic of Somaliland, which the world recognizes as northwest Somalia, will not be attending the African Union heads of state summit currently being hosted by Gambia.

Photo: Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, left and his wife arrive at the African Union summit in Banjul, Gambia Saturday, July 1 2006. (AP) Full report UN Annan, Africa leaders tackle Sudan, poverty via Sudan Tribune July 2, 2006.

Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf

Photo: Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf (R) walks down a corridor after a meeting during the African Union summit in Gambia's capital Banjul July 1, 2006. (Reuters/Finbarr O'Reilly/Yahoo News)


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