30 June 2008

Zimbabwe: President Leaves for African Union Summit

Harare — PRESIDENT Mugabe left Harare last night for Sharm El Sheikh Resort of Egypt to attend the African Union summit that begins today.

At his last campaign rally in Chitungwiza last Thursday, Cde Mugabe said he was prepared to face any of his AU counterparts disparaging Zimbabwe's electoral conduct because some of their countries had worse elections record.

Some AU foreign ministers, preparing for the summit, tried to discuss the Zimbabwe issue on Friday but AU Commission chairperson Mr Jean Ping said the matter was best left to the heads of state.

The theme of the summit is "Meeting the Millennium Development Goals on Water and Sanitation".

According to a draft agenda on the AU website, the summit will consider a report of the first meeting of the committee of 12 leaders on the proposed AU government.

The meeting will also discuss the status of implementation of regional and continental integration.

Adoption of the single legal instrument on the merger of the Court of Justice and the African Court on Human and People's Rights of the African Union will also come under discussion.

The summit will deliberate on the appointment of the Members of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and appointment of the judges of the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights.

Briefing journalists on the agenda of the summit, Mr Ping highlighted the issues of peace and security, human rights, governance and free, fair and democratic elections, which, he said, were imperative in enhancing the socio-economic and political integration of Africa.

Other issues include the integration of Nepad into the structures of the AU, Sino-African relations, Afro-Arab co-operation, consolidation and reinforcement of partnerships with the external world and shared values.

Mr Ping further emphasised the need to reinforce the AU Commission by improving on its financial and human resources to enable the institution to attain its goals.

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