Ethiopia: Chadian President becomes new AU Chairman

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) - Chadian President Idriss Deby has been elected the new Chairman of the African Union (AU).

The election took place at the start of the 26th session of the Assembly of Heads of State and government here on Saturday.

President Deby prioritised the search for a political solution to the crisis in Libya, calling for the formation of an African Heads of State Committee to back UN efforts to end Libya's political crisis.

"I do not have the pretention to change events in Africa. At least, I have the latitude to tell you what is useful to Africa, even if it will take a long time to materialise," President Deby said in his acceptance speech at the Summit.

"The AU has not yet lived up to our expectations. This is because we have not given it the means to deliver," President Deby warned.

The Chadian leader took the Chairmanship of the continental body from President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe after a year-long term.

President Derby assumed the Chairmanship amid growing threat of expanding terrorism across the Western African region and the Sahel.

The current AU Summit has been dominated by terrorism, the crisis in South Sudan and the deteriorating situation in Burundi.

At a meeting of the Peace and Security Council (PSC), held hours earlier, the Heads of State over-ruled the deployment of the troops to Burundi, sources told PANA.

The AU Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma said the holding of this year's Summit, with more emphasis on terrorism and the political situation in Burundi and South Sudan, was testimony to the AU's unwavering commitment to tackle peace and Security on the continent.

At least 33 African leaders and the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon are attending the Summit, also dedicated to the issues of Human Rights and Women.

The decolonisation of the Western Sahara, an issue identified by the Zimbabwean Chairmanship when President Mugabe assumed the post, has also featured at the Summit.

Dlamini Zuma decried the delay in getting a final resolution of the Western Sahara issue.

"We need to push the UN to do everything to move forward the Western Sahara issue," she told the opening session of the Executive Council meeting on Wednesday.

Earlier, the AU Commissioner for Political Affairs Aisha Abdullahi said this year's Summit would "compliment" the achievements of women rights in particular.

"We are discussing how Africa can overcome the challenges of protection of women rights. Women were not considered as important players in their economies. We have recorded impressive development on women empowerment," Abdullahi said.

To measure the progress of African women empowerment, AU officials said out 37 elections in 2015, at least 16 of those polls took place in Africa.

The elections saw more women elected to posts of decision making.

Other issues at the Summit include a call from the African leaders to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to stop the use of new rules adopted by the Court in the trial of Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto.
-0- PANA AO/VAO 30Jan2016

30 january 2016 13:06:02

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