Voice of America (Washington, DC)

19 August 2013

Egypt: African Union Panel to Meet Egypt Officials

Photo: RFI
Protesters in Cairo call for the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak (file photo).

A team of officials from the African Union (AU) is scheduled to meet authorities in Egypt this week as part of an effort to help resolve the ongoing crisis in the North African country.

"We have formally written to the Egyptian interim authorities to inform them of the intention of the panel to come back to Egypt, and we look forward to the cooperation of both the interim authorities and all Egyptians," said El Ghassim Wane, an AU spokesman. "The plans are for the panel to go back to Egypt as early as [this] week. The Peace and Security Council has urged that preparations be expedited for the panel to go back to Egypt."

The African Union, Wane said, is displeased with Egypt's violence as well as the political stalemate.

"Further polarization of the situation in Egypt or escalation of violence will have far-reaching implications both for Egypt, the region and the African continent as a whole. And this is why the AU is making sustained efforts to contribute to the ongoing efforts, based of course, on the ownership by the Egyptian stakeholders themselves, "he said.

Wane says the continental body has called for a national dialogue over ways to stop the violence.

The group has formed the African Union High Panel for Egypt to help find solutions to the crisis following the ouster of president Mohammed Morsi.

Members of the panel include former Malian president Alpha Oumar Konare, former Botswana president Festus Mogae and former Djibouti prime minister Dileita Mohammed Dileita. The panel was in Egypt from the end of July to early August, according to Wane.

"They had consultations with a wide range of Egyptians as well as with the interim authorities. The discussions were useful, and the panel provided a progress report to the AU Peace and Security Council," said Wane. "Plans are underway for the panel to go back to Egypt to assist in efforts aimed at diffusing the current tension and facilitating dialogue among the Egyptian stakeholders."

Wane's comments came after the interim Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy accused the international community of being silent about the "criminal acts" of the protesters who are mostly supporters of the ousted president Morsi.

"We are deeply concerned," continued Wane, "The peace, security, stability and democracy in Egypt are key goals for the African Union, and our efforts are precisely aimed at helping the Egyptians overcome their current challenges," said Wane.

He said the AU is working with its international partners, including the League of Arab States, to ensure a peaceful and stable Egypt.

"We are engaging the Egyptians to assist them in overcoming their differences, assisting them in diffusing the current tension, to assist them in avoiding any escalation of violence and further polarization within the society," said Wane.

The African Union has called for restraint after appealing for mutual accommodation, tolerance and a cessation of violence and retribution.

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