Ethiopia: Chad’s foreign minister secures top post at African Union

ADDIS ABABA – African Union leaders chose Chad’s candidate to chair the 54-nation body on Monday at a summit where the divisive issues of Africa’s relationship to the International Criminal Court and Morocco’s readmission to the AU were on the agenda.

In the last round of voting, Chadian Foreign Minister Moussa Faki Mahamat beat Kenya’s top diplomat Amina Mohamed to secure the post as head of the commission of the AU, which is headquartered in the Ethiopian capital.

A Chadian official told a group of reporters that his nation’s candidate had secured 39 votes in the final round. Faki, born in 1960, has served as foreign minister since 2008. His previous posts also included a stint as prime minister.

In a race usually resolved in behind-the-scenes talks before a summit vote, three of the AU’s four major regions vied for the post � the south, the east and the largely Francophone west � with some regions pushing more than one candidate.

Outgoing commissioner, South Africa’s Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, stayed in post an extra six months after leaders failed to agree a candidate in July. She is now tipped as a contender to succeed her ex-husband, Jacob Zuma, as South Africa’s president.

The question of Morocco’s re-admission was also divisive, although by Monday evening, two delegates leaving the talks said it had the support of 39 nations, enough to provide a guarantee. However, reservations held by 10 AU members meant the confirmation of its new status would have to wait until Tuesday.The North African kingdom quit the AU’s predecessor, the Organisation of African Unity, three decades ago amid a dispute over the body’s recognition of Western Sahara, most of which has been controlled by Morocco since 1976.

Western Sahara’s Foreign Minister Mohamed Salem Ould Salek called progress on Morocco’s readmission a “positive step” since it would put it on equal footing with a region it has until now refused to acknowledge as anything other than its own territory.

Source: Angola Press News Agency