25 January 2013

Zimbabwe: President Arrives in Addis Ababa for AU Summit

Addis Ababa — President Mugabe is in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa for the 20th African Union Summit, which will run until January 28 under the theme "Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance".

The Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces and his delegation arrived here late yesterday afternoon and will join other leaders and representatives from the 54-member states at the meeting.

Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi and Women, Gender and Community Development Minister Olivia Muchena are accompanying President Mugabe.

He was welcomed by Zimbabwe embassy staff and senior Ethiopian government officials.

This year's summit comes at a time when a number of civil conflicts have arisen in countries such as Mali, the Democratic Republic Congo and the Central African Republic over the past year, while troops from Sudan and South Sudan have occasionally fought along the two countries' disputed border.

The resolution of these armed conflicts is likely to take centre stage while the African leaders will also seek to chart the continent's development agenda as it enters its 50th year of regional cooperation.

Speaking after meeting the outgoing African Union chair and Benin President Boni Yayi in Harare last week, President Mugabe said Africa was not united as was expected by the founders of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in 1963. The OAU was founded here and changed its name to the African Union (AU) in 2001, with leaders envisioning a continent united politically, economically and culturally.

"We may, by virtue of history, have been divided by certain boundaries and especially by colonialism but our founding fathers in 1963 showed us the way and we must take up that teaching we got in 1963 that we are one and we must be united," said Cde Mugabe.

Cde Mugabe said the African leaders should at this year's summit discuss the integration of the different regions of the continent adding that there was also need to explore the idea of having a president of Africa.

"This is what we must go and discuss but we must also discuss the issue that divide us." Mr Yayi said the crises in Somalia, Mali, Sudan, South Sudan, Libya, Guinea Bissau, the Central African Republic and DRC were a cause for concern and reiterated Cde Mugabe's call for a fully integrated Africa.

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