18th ordinary session of the African Union ends with postponement of commissioners elections to June

AU The  Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU), meeting at the 18th Ordinary Session of the AU Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 29 January 2012, on the theme “Boosting Intra-African Trade”, ended deliberation today 30 January 2012, at the new Conference Center of the AU in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The Heads of States adopted 25 Decisions, one resolution and two Declarations. Amongst the decisions is the suspension of the elections of the Chairperson  and Deputy Chairperson of the AU Commission, alongside that of the eight Commissioners. This came after long debate as none of the candidates for the chairmanship could obtain the 2/3 votes as stipulated in the AU constitution.

The summit resolved that an ad-hoc committee be set up as soon as possible to look into the election matter ahead of the next AU summit scheduled for June 2012 in the Republic of Malawi. The ad-hoc committee is expected to meet in March 2012. To that effect, the mandate of the present Commission was extended until the next AU Summit.

During the closing ceremony, Dr. Mohamed Moncef Marzouki, President of the Republic of Tunisia presented the vote of thanks to the Assembly, calling on the need for peace and unity on the continent. To the Chinese Government he extended his gratitude for offering the AU a magnificent conference center which will enable the African Heads of States to meet and discuss about issues of interest to the continent.

Addressing the final press conference that followed the closing ceremony of the 18th AU Summit, the Chairperson of the African Union President Yayi  Boni of Benin informed the press that the Assembly discussed among others, peace and security issues.  “We were able to agree on certain measures to ensure that peace is restored to the areas affected by conflicts”, he underlined.

The AU Chairperson announced that the AU was pleased to receive the new Libyan authorities into the Union, and that the AU will continue to support the efforts of the Libyans to ensure that peace and stability is restored and development enhanced. President Yayi  Boni  recalled that the issue of proliferation of arms in the region is of concern to the AU and needs urgent attention. “We want a new and safe Africa”, he said.

Referring to the theme of the summit, President Boni commended the free trade area by the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), East African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), adding that Africa is looking to establish a continental free trade area by 2017, in order to promote the economic development and integration of the continent.

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