Bozize, Gnassingbe attend African Union summit

  Sirte- Libya (PANA) -- Newly-elected Presidents Francois Bozize of Central African Republic and Faure Gnassingbe of Togo were Monday welcomed into the ranks of African leaders at the 5th Ordinary Summit of Heads of State of the African Union convening 4-5 July in the central Libyan city of Sirte.
   The two men did not attend the opening session, but would be allowed into the closed door session that follows the impressive curtain-raiser that attracted an array of guests and speakers, including UN secretary general Kofi Annan, Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and Jose Manuel Baroso, president of the European Union Commission.
   Welcoming the debutants, AU chair and Nigerian prersident Olusegun Obasanjo said African leaders have said "loud and clear" and demonstrated their resolve that "never again shall we allow unconstitutional changes of government in our continent.
If such a change occurs, that leader is on his or her own.
"   Gnassingbe, through unconstitutional means, tried to succeed his late father Gnassingbe Eyadema who died 5 February by tampering with the constitution, while Bozize grabbed power through a military putsch in March 2003.
Both men won recent elections in their respective countries that were rated credible by international observers.
   "Let there be no doubt in any one's mind about our commitment in Africa to resolve our problems and usher in an era of posterity, which we hope to bequeath to future generations," Obasanjo said.
   He noted that African leaders would emulate the best practices in socio-economic and political reforms taking place on the continent in the march towards the emergence of a new Africa, with firm belief in and commitment to democracy, transparency, rule of law and a peaceful and prosperous society.

04 july 2005 15:53:00

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