African Union summit to be held in Ethiopia after Malawi refuses to host Bashir


Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir speaks to the People's Assembly in the capital Khartoum on July 12, 2011.



The next African Union summit will be held in Ethiopia after Malawi pulled out as host in a dispute over the attendance of Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir.

The AU announced that its July 9-16 summit meetings will take place in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital where the bloc's headquarters are located.

Malawi said last week it would not host the summit after the AU insisted that all African leaders, including Bashir, be allow to attend. 

Bashir has been indicted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes in Darfur.

"Following the withdrawal of the offer of the Republic of Malawi to host the 19th AU summit meetings initially scheduled to take place in Lilongwe, Malawi ... it has been decided that the 19th summit will be held at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on the same dates," the AU said in a statement late Monday.

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AU official Ferdinand Montcho accused the Hague-based court of meddling in African affairs, Agence France-Presse reported.

"This matter of ICC for me it is nonsense, every time we want to have a summit they start disturbing us," Montcho told AFP. "Why should they not let us hold our meeting [without] this cinema, this theater, this play?"

The BBC noted that Malawi's President Joyce Banda, successor to former leader Bingu wa Mutharika who died in office in April, has put in place reforms to appease foreign aid donors.

According to the Nyasa Times, Banda said Bashir would be arrested should he come to Malawi for the summit.

Sudan's foreign ministry described the decision by Malawi as a win for Sudanese diplomacy, AFP reported

"Sudanese diplomacy has achieved a great victory in resisting the plans of the ICC, which has tried to limit the movements of President Bashir," said a statement released by the official SUNA news agency.

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