25 January 2006
Congo-Brazzaville has been elected chair of the African Union (AU) for 2006, after Sudan withdrew its bid for the post at the AU heads of state summit in Khartoum, Sudan on Monday.
A special committee appointed by the summit – comprising Gabon, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Djibouti, Burkina Faso, Tanzania and Egypt – has recommended that Sudan take over the presidency in 2007.
Traditionally, the host of the AU summit takes over the presidency. But concerns were raised that Sudan’s human rights record, particularly in the troubled Darfur region, might taint the AU’s reputation and stall the union’s peacekeeping initiatives in the region.
An official statement declared that the union’s principle of rotating leadership among regions “shall be respected when electing the president of the African Union”.
A task team is to be established to ensure that the geographical rotational principle for the coming years is adhered to, and that the election processes conform to the provisions of the AU’s Constitutive Act.
Congolese President Denis Sassou-Nguesso is now the chair of the AU.