|Africa News Digest
Sudan's President Bashir Visits Ethiopia
April 21 (EIRNS)Sudan President Omar al-Bashir arrived in Ethiopia today, at the head of a high-level delegation, according to the Sudan Tribune. He was welcomed by President Meles Zenawi. Referring to the International Criminal Court arrest warrant against Bashir, Zenawi said: "The arrest warrant is over-politicized and unacceptable. It is over-politicization of the humanitarian issue and over-politicization of international justice." He added that both countries emphasized the importance of bilateral ties, which are focussed on improving economic relations and infrastructure development, particularly a road link.
Zenawi also said that the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between North and South Sudan is critical, not only for peace in Sudan, but also for the entire eastern Africa region.
On April 9, the Ethiopian government announced that it was to provide the African Union/United Nations Hybrid peacekeeping operation in Darfur with five tactical helicopters.
Somali Opposition Leader Rejects Sudan Mediation Effort
April 21 (EIRNS)Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, leader of the Somali militia that opposes the moderate Somali President, Sheikh Ahmed, left Khartoum, Sudan, without meeting Ahmed, according to the Sudan Tribune today. The Sudan government had brought the two leaders to Khartoum in an attempt to mediate and bring stability to Somalia. Aweys had worked with Ahmed in the Islamic Courts Union, before it was ousted by the Ethiopian military intervention at the end of 2006. Ethiopia has since withdrawn.
The move by Sudan follows visits to Sudan by President Obama's Special Envoy to Sudan, Maj. Gen. Scott Gration (ret.).
Sudan's Talks with France and Britain End Without Positive Result
April 21 (EIRNS)A high-level Sudanese delegation ended talks tonight in Paris with French officials and Britain's Lord Mark Malloch-Brown, a Foreign Office Secretary, and a key figure in the founding of the private International Criminal Court (ICC). No progress was made in the talks. French Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Frederic Desagneaux told reporters earlier in the day, according to the Sudan Tribune, that Sudan must "fulfill its obligations to the ICC." After the talks, Desagneaux said that the French and British delegations "reiterated their commitment to international criminal justice and cooperation with the ICC."
Sudanese Presidential Assistant Nafi Ali Nafi, interviewed on Radio Monte Carlo Arabic service, said the focus of the visit was to establish bilateral relations with the two European countries. This was rejected by the former colonial powers. Nafi said that Sudan refuses to deal with the ICC, calling it a "political tool used against African leaders who are viewed to be uncooperative with Western programs in Africa."
France and Britain are now the only permanent members of the UN Security Council that are refusing to deal bilaterally with Sudan.
ANC Returned to Power in South Africa
April 25 (EIRNS)The ruling African National Congress (ANC) was returned to power in the April 22 election, in which 77% of the voters turned out. The final results, announced today, were ANC, 65.9%; Democratic Alliance, 16.7%; and Congress of the People (Cope), 7.4%.
The ANC parliamentarians will now elect Jacob Zuma as President of the country, but will not be able to enact major budgetary plans or legislation unchallenged, because the ruling party is just shy of a two-thirds majority.
The ANC election manifesto claimed that the party would "lead a massive public investment program for growth and employment creation," including "expanding and improving the rail networks, public transport, and port operations, dams, housing construction, information and communications technology and energy generation capacity, as well as education and health infrastructure."
In his last public appearance before the voting, however, Zuma indicated in Johannesburg, April 21, that South Africa's future depended on the whims of the markets. "Everything we do, it is according to the means available. I'm sure everyone understands that." He was referring to his government's response to the economic collapse.
The international press dominated by London is hoping that Zuma can be pressured to "get tough with Mugabe," which would be a reversal of the Zimbabwe policy of former South African President Thabo Mbeki, who successfully mediated a unity government in the face of attacks from the London financial crowd and their lackeys.
In provincial results, the London-aligned Democratic Alliance won the premiership of the Western Cape with 51.5% of the vote, but the ANC won in the other eight provinces.
Cope, a split-off from the ANC, and nearly a carbon copy of the Democratic Alliance, won enough votes to lead the opposition in Eastern Cape (13.31%), Limpopo (7.21%), and Northern Cape (15.94%).