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Africa

Libyan leader Gaddafi elected chairman of African Union

©

Video by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2009-02-03

Libyan chief Muammar Gaddafi will head the African Union for the next year after being elected on Monday. He has promised to push ahead with the idea of a United States of Africa, resembling the American model.

AFP - Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi took the reins of the 53-nation African Union at a summit on Monday amid concerns over deadly unrest in Madagascar and a bid to indict Sudan's president for war crimes.

Kadhafi, elected in a closed-door vote at the summit in the Ethiopian capital, vowed to press ahead with plans to create a "United States of Africa" despite other leaders' reluctance to back his objective.

The summit, which ends on Tuesday, has been overshadowed by political unrest in Madagascar, torn apart in a power struggle that has killed 68 people so far.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told the summit he was "particularly concerned" about the crisis, and urged that all parties "address their differences peacefully and through existing constitutional mechanisms."

Ban also called on Sudan's President Omar al-Beshir to comply with any action by the International Criminal Court, which is considering whether to indict him for alleged war crimes in Darfur, despite objections from other African leaders.

"He should fully cooperate with the decision of the ICC," Ban told a press conference on the sidelines of the summit.

AU Commission President Jean Ping told leaders earlier that the bloc was trying to lobby international support for a 12-month stay in judges' consideration of the request, "to give a greater chance to the peace process".

Ban hailed moves toward forming a new government in Somalia, and said he would meet later in the day with new president elected last week.

 

Date created : 2009-02-03

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