8 June 2012

Africa: Malawi Says No to Hosting AU Summit

Photo: UN Photo/Marco Castro
Omar al-Bashir addressing the UN (file photo).

The Vice President, Khumbo Kachali, has announced that Malawi will not be hosting the African Union summit, Face of Malawi has reported.

This was decided by Cabinet this morning after the AU Commission asked Malawi to welcome Sudanese President Al Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court.

Reuters reported that the African Union sent a letter to the Malawian government informing them that if they don't allow al-Bashir to come to Malawi, the summit will be moved to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.

Original story:

Sudan has requested that the Africa Union (AU) summit in July be relocated to Addis Ababa, according to AFP.

Malawian president, Joyce Banda made it clear that the Sudanese leader, Omar al-Bashir, would not be welcome at the organisation's meeting in Lilongwe in July.

She reportedly said that she would co-operate with the International Criminal Court (ICC) by seeking his arrest if he enters the country.

Banda fears Bashir's presence in Malawi would jeopardise the country's economic ties with foreign donors, according to a BBC Africa report.

Bashir faces charges of crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes by the ICC. Sudan's foreign ministry said Malawi was contravening AU rules, which include "the required propitious frameworks and environment for the summit", according to Newstime Africa.

However, Moses Kumkuyu, Malawi's information minister, told Newstime Africa: "The statutes of the African Union give freedom to member states to make their grievances known. We were only making our position known and that is not infringing on any statute of the AU."

ICC prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, wants leverage from the international community in his endeavour to arrest Bashir, saying in a statement to AFP that the failure to detain him and other Sudanese officials facing similar charges are "a direct challenge to the council's authority".

Countries affiliated with the ICC, including Malawi, are obligated to arrest Bashir, who has visited several nations and remains unapprehended. Yayi Boni, chairperson of the AU and foreign minister of Benin, has said that the AU has no reason to bar Bashir from its July summit.

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