Tension in Middle East:
African Union urges Egypt reforms
ETHIOPIA: The African Union urged Egyptian President Hosni
Mubarak to respond to mass protests with reforms as its leaders met
Sunday to tackle the array of crises gripping the continent.
More than 20 leaders gathered at the bloc’s headquarters in Ethiopia
for a summit dominated by the turmoil in Egypt and Tunisia, the
political crisis in Ivory Coast and controversy over the designation of
Equatorial Guinea’s President Teodoro Obiang Nguema as the African
Union’s new chairman.
As deadly anti-government protests in Egypt raged into a sixth day,
AU Peace and Security Commissioner Ramtane Lamamra called on Mubarak to
bring in reforms in response to the unrest. “We believe that there are
changes that are necessary in order to respond to the wishes of the
people, economic reforms, social measures,and probably also issues
related to the governement that need to be adressed,” Lamamra said.
In contrast, Lamamra said that Tunisia was “moving in a direction
which seems to reflect the wishes of the people” after a popular
uprising there ended the 23-year rule of president Zine El Abidine Ben
Ali earlier this month.
At the summit, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for
“restraint, non-violence and respect of fundamental rights and freedoms
and human rights” during the protests in Egypt, which have so far
claimed more than 100 lives. French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who also
attended the Addis Ababa summit, called on African leaders to draw
lessons from the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt and to anticipate public
desire for change.
Addis Ababa, Monday, AFP