Diplomatic Failures Over Darfur Mean AU Snub for Sudan

Diplomatic Failures Over Darfur Mean AU Snub for Sudan

African leaders made plain their disappointment and concern over Sudan's handling of the conflict in its western Darfur region by rejecting the central African country's bid to lead the African Union during an annual summit this week that also saw a first effort at African mediation by new U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Prosperous and stable Ghana instead assumed the mantle of the 53-member pan-African grouping at the meeting in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, amid warnings from Sudanese rebels that they would attack an under-equipped AU peacekeeping force operating in Darfur should Sudan be tapped to succeed the Congo Republic.

Sudan had been slated to take the helm of the AU last year but a firestorm of protest over the deteriorating situation in Darfur, both within the continent and globally, vaulted Congo President Denis Sasso N'Guesso into place for a shortened, one-year term. The tacit agreement within the club of African leaders was that were there to be progress shown in Darfur, Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir would assume the helm of the grouping that has struggled since its inception in 2002 to burnish its credentials as a viable replacement for the ineffectual Organization of African Unity.

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