Ethiopia to host AU summit after Malawi’s withdrawalBy REX CHIKOKO in Blantyre | Monday, June 11 2012 at 19:16
The Africa Union (AU) has announced that Ethiopia will now host the 19th Summit of the Union following Malawi’s withdrawal over Sudanese President Hassan Omar Al-Bashir's arrest warrant.
In a communiqué released by the Secretary of the African Union Commission Information and Communication Directorate, Mr Sehenemariam Hailu, AU said after consultations among member states, it was decided that Ethiopia should host the summit.
“Following the withdrawal of the offer of the Republic of Malawi to host the 19th AU Summit meetings, initially scheduled in Lilongwe, Malawi, from July 9 to 16, 2012 and after consultations among member states, it has been decided that the 19th Summit will be held at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on the same dates,” reads the communiqué.
Malawi announced that it was going to arrest President Bashir if he set foot in the country and later announced that it would not host the summit following AU's insistence to allow the wanted leader to attend the meeting.
The International Criminal Court has issued a warrant of arrest for President Bashir for atrocities committed in his country's Darfur region.
He denies the charges.
Meanwhile, Malawi civil society organisations have commended the government for refusing to host the Sudanese President.
The organisations urged President Joyce Banda and Malawi delegation to attend the 19th summit to continue their protest against the presence of the Sudan leader.
The CSOs said Malawi’s stand on this issue was a move in the right direction and called upon all African countries and the AU at large to follow suit.
“It is also worth noting that the space is closing in on President Omar Al Bashir in Africa and sooner or later, the long arm of justice will take its rightful course. We urge the government of Malawi and civil society groups not to boycott against AU insistence to invite Al-Bashir, but rather to go to Ethiopia and fully participate,” reads the statement.
President Bashir visited Malawi last October when the country hosted the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) Heads of State and Government Summit in Lilongwe.
Following the visit, Britain, Malawi's former colonial master and the biggest bilateral donor, expressed disappointment that Malawi hosted him
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