Ghana's Kufuor takes over from Sassou Nguesso as AU head

Addis Ababa- Ethiopia (PANA) – Ghanaian President,- John Kufuor, was Monday made here "by consensus" the new chairman of the African Union (AU), following a closed door meeting by the Pan-African organisation's summit, according to a top AU official.
AU Commission chairman Alpha Oumar Konare said the decision to give the chair to Kufuor was AU heads of state and government's "way of marking Ghana's fiftieth anniversary".
Kufuor's election marks the end of speculation as who was to succeed the former immediate chairman, Sassou Ngueso of Congo, especially after a spirited campaign for the post by Sudanese leader, Omar El Bashir, who had been promised, at the AU summit in Khartoum in January 2006, to lead the Pan African body.
Chad had threatened to suspend its participation in the African Union if El Bashir was elected chairman of the organisation.
Also, several African delegations and human rights organisations had stated their opposition to Sudan's leadership of the AU, citing the Darfur crisis, which remains unsolved to date.
Official sources said Darfur was an impediment on Sudan's ascension to the AU leadership, and African leaders resolved the dilemma by settling on Kufour as an alternative.
The AU leadership is rotational amongst the four main regions- east, central, south and west, of Africa, and it was east Africa's turn to be at the helm.

29 january 2007 15:57:00

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