African leaders arrive in Kampala for summit

Kampala- Uganda (PANA) -- Six African leaders were due here Friday for a series of talks leading up to the African Union Summit, just days after a devastating terrorist attack at the heart of the capital, Kampala, killed 76 people and wounded scores of others.
South African President Jacob Zuma, Nigerian leader Goodluck Jonathan, Lesotho's Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisilipi, Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade and Zambian President Rupia Band a are among the first batch of leaders expected for the 15th regular Summit of the African Union.
Ugandan foreign ministry officials announced the six leaders were expected to arrive Friday for the summit alongside other invited guests who, for the first time, would include a senior representative of US President Barack Obama - his attorney-general.
The Kampala summit, under pressure to take decisive steps to fight terrorism in Somalia after the devastating attacks in Kampala, is expected to attract one of the lowest attendances.
AU officials said earlier this week some 20 African leaders had confirmed they would attend the meeting.
But Ugandan foreign ministry officials put the number at 38.
Already, pressure is building on the African leaders to reflect on a number of critical issues, including taking new commitments to deal with the rising cases of maternal deaths.
Gender rights bodies, including the Fammes Africa Solidarity (FAS), have already pitched camp in Kampala to emphasise on firm commitments needed to deal with maternal deaths.
AU Commissioner for Social Affairs, Biance Gawanas, said the way the summit deals with the issue of maternal deaths would have positive or negative effects on the image of Africa.
"We should be able to show a positive image of Africa in the way we deal with the maternal health issues,'' the AU Commissioner told PANA in an interview.
She said it was a major step forward for the African leaders to meet on an issue that affects millions of African women.
"The African leaders are meeting, not to discuss regional integration or the economic crisis, they are attaching a significant issue of human life and human beings in their deliberations,'' Gawanas said.
''We had 45 years to save lives, we will save those lives.
If this summit will not come up with strong decisions to save lives, which other platforms do we have to achieve the same? It is an irony.
A woman does not have to die while giving life, it is a contradiction.
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23 july 2010 13:24:00




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