Pressure mounts on African Union to reject Sudanese chairmanship
Posted On January 28, 2007
Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir is one of the primary (if not THE primary) architects of the bloodbath in Darfur. Now he wants to lead the African Union, the body responsible for the undermanned peacekeeping force in Darfur. It is outrageous and it might actually happen. While the world begins to pay attention and hold ‘Concerts for Darfur’ in Carnegie Hall, the already-hellish situation worsens.
UPDATE BY CD: Thankfully, Sudan didn’t get it. Story
KHARTOUM, Sudan: Sudan braced for a diplomatic showdown as the government confirmed Sunday it intended to secure the chairmanship of the African Union, while outside observers and regional rebels warned the move would compromise the African body’s attempt to pacify Darfur.The AU is set to meet this week in Ethiopia to choose its new chairman among African heads of states. The spiraling violence in Sudan’s western Darfur region is expected to top the agenda, along with the ongoing turmoil in Somalia.
The AU has 7,000 peacekeepers struggling to end the fighting in Darfur, where many observers say Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir is a party to the conflict and should not chair the organization.
But Khartoum says AU leaders already agreed to select al-Bashir during last year’s summit.
Sadiq dismissed claims that a Sudanese chairmanship would put the African force in an awkward position in Darfur, saying the regional body’s chief does not have oversight over day-to-day peacekeeping operations.
But Darfur rebel leaders warned they would stop considering the AU mission as an honest peace-broker in Darfur if al-Bashir is selected.
“We are fighting al-Bashir and his army. … There will be huge chaos in Darfur if he becomes AU chairman,” warned rebel chief Khalil Ibrahim in a phone interview from Darfur.