Monday, July 16, 2012

19th AU summit kicked off in strange scenes, Ethiopia's PM Meles absence raises health questions

19th AU summit Addis Ababa Ethiopia
This year’s African Union summit was kicked of today in Addis Ababa with unprecedented scene despite the main agenda on table that drew head of states across the content is dominated by the security issue of Mali, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the two Sudanese states.

Unlike the last two decades, the main issue that drew the attention of most participant’s became the unusual absence of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi since he came to power. And equally, the appearance of new democratically elected Egyptian President Ahmed Morsi is the other subject which could manage the attention of most participants and journalists at the meeting as it the first time for Egyptian leader to attend the AU Summit in Addis Ababa since the failed assassination attempt occurred in 1995 against the ousted President Hosni Mubarek.

On Saturday, it was reportedly indicated that Meles was unable to attend the 27th Summit of the NEPAD Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee (HSGOC) due to the health problem though he was expected to deliver a report as the current Chairman of NEPAD.

Yesterday it was Senegalese President, Macky Sall who opened the meeting on behalf of Meles who confirmed officially for the first time Melese’s bad health condition saying “The Federal Republic of Ethiopian Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi, is not attending this meeting with us this afternoon for health reason”.

During the opening session of the 19th AU summit, three newly elected leaders, notably Thomas Thabane, Prime Minister of Lesotho, Senegalese President Macky Sall and Ahmed Morsi of Egypt joined and were introduced as new comers to the Pan-African group.

According to the agenda released by AU’s Communication Directorate prior to the summit, the “high momentum” of this year’s meeting would be election of commissioner that was postponed from the 18th Summit which was held in January 2012 here in Addis Ababa at which both candidates, South Africa’s Minister, Dlamini Zuma and the incumbent Commisioner, JeanPing, failed to achieve the majority’s 2/3 voice from member states.

Though this election still looks one of the main subjects of the summit, The Reporter witnessed that PM Meles’s absence from this biggest event of the continent has already the hottest agenda of journalists and delegates around the 19th AU’s meeting.
Instead, Deputy Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, who is also the Minister of Foreign Affair, filled Meles’s seat at AU’s Hall located at the first raw of presidential seat that labelled with Ethiopian Flag.

However, still nothing is know much about Meles’s health condition as there is no any official confirmation given neither from the government nor his party’s office. But, as a hottest agenda, rumors remain propagating on the unverified health condition of the PM across the country.
Meanwhile, except Meles, leaders keep discussing behind the closed door this after noon on the dominant agenda of peace and security as well as the election of the next commissioner.

In the last six months the two contestants, Zuma and ping have been engaged in a massive lobbying campaign in the run up election to retain one of the hottest seat. But some diplomats who closely follow the matter are claiming that both still have equal chances.
It’s also difficult where the winning can go. But the running up election is to one of them either to Ping who is Franco-phone speaker or Zuma who is from Anglo-phone side. But one can be sure that the AU’s election Committee is expected to unveil the winner tonight, if not tomorrow.

Source: The Reporter

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