NGOs hail election of Ghana to the Presidency of the African Union

Contact: Oladapo Awosokanre at + 251 912 129 331

NGOs hail election of Ghana to the presidency of the African Union

(ADDIS ABABA, 29 January 2007) The Darfur Consortium today welcomed the accession of the Republic of Ghana to the Presidency of the African Union (AU).

This afternoon in Addis Ababa Africa Heads of State meeting at the 8th African Union summit decided that Ghana’s President H.E. John Agyekum Kufuor would succeed President Denis Sassou-Nguesso of the Republic of Congo as President of the 53 member Union.

“We have every expectation that President Kufuor will continue to demonstrate at the helm of African Union the level of commitment he has shown to promoting peace and security in Darfur” said Achieng Akena, a spokesperson for the Consortium.

Ghana has taken a generous and principled stand on the responsibility to protect civilians in Darfur in African Union and United Nations since the outset of the crisis, including through contributing personnel towards the African Union Mission in Darfur (AMIS) and co-sponsoring UN Security Council Resolution 1706 calling for inter alia the strengthening of AMIS.

“We look now to President Kufuor to continue this leadership” added Ms Akena.

The Consortium calls on President Kufuor to work urgently with the African Union and African States to ensure that:

* Sudan observes a clear timetable for the implementation of the three phases of the hybrid AU-UN force deployment to which it has agreed and moves effectively disarm its Janjaweed militia;
* African States send more troops to Darfur – Africa is still mandated to lead the force and must fulfil its responsibility to protect;
* African States support the deployment of UN peacekeepers to Chad where over a half a million displaced Darfurians and Chadians are desperately in need of security;
* meaningful and inclusive peace negotiations on Darfur are revitalised.