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African Union

Cote d'Ivoire tops the agenda at AU summit

African Union
2 min

The African Union summit in Addis Ababa kicked off on Thursday with a meeting of foreign ministers. The political crisis Cote d’Ivoire is at the top of the agenda during the five-day summit, as well the possible implications of popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt.

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“The situation in Cote d’Ivoire and in Tunisia is focusing our attention. I am following the situation in these countries very closely and we will take appropriate measures,” AU Commission Chairperson Jean Ping told reporters.

“Tunisia is not officially on the summit agenda,” says RFI’s Donaig Le Du. “But obviously everybody here in Addis Ababa is monitoring what is going on in Tunisia right now and also what is going on in Egypt.”

The political impasse in Cote d’Ivoire will dominate proceedings and Ping said some “major decisions” will be taken by the 53 nations that make up the organisation.

One of the first items on the agenda will be the selection of a head of state to take up the AU’s revolving presidency. Equatorial Guinea’s Teodoro Obiang Nguema is widely expected to succeed Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika.

Obiang Nguema has already begun to make diplomatic moves. His office has said he will propose that a special commission be created to resolve the Cote d’Ivoire standoff. He is also thought to have met with Guillaume Soro, Alassane Ouattara’s choice for prime minister, and Gilbert Ake Ngbo, Laurent Gbagbo’s prime minister.

“Officially Cote d’Ivoire has been suspended so the chair at the meeting this morning was empty, but the irony is that both Cote d’Ivoire’s foreign ministers are here in Ethiopia,” says Le Du.

“They’re lobbying, especially in advance of this very important peace and security council meeting tomorrow, trying to convince people,” she adds.

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