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NEWS : Breaking News  

"Three Chairs" for Sierra Leone's President Koroma at AU Summit
By Sheka Tarawallie
Feb 3, 2009, 17:14
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At the official opening ceremony of the African Union summit yesterday, President Ernest Bai Koroma and Sierra Leone had a special elevation by performing functions and getting a new position at the continental bodys most powerful authoritative institution, tasked with the responsibility of managing the affairs of the Union.

As Chairman of the Committee of Ten on the Reform of the United Nations, the President today convened a meeting seeking the inclusion of Africa in the UN Security Council with veto powers, and to establish that no other body or institution has the mandate to negotiate Africas position apart from the Committee. He will deliver the Committees position to the General Assembly today. The other members of the Committee are Uganda, Algeria, Libya, Congo, Namibia, Kenya, Senegal, Equatorial Guinea, and Zambia.

Earlier yesterday, the AU General Assembly elected a new executive/ bureau, with Libya taking the Chairmanship, succeeding Tanzania. Sierra Leone was elected one of three Vice Chairs, the other two being Lesotho and Gabon, while Tanzania is the Rapporteur.

Perhaps a clearer pointer to Sierra Leones new position was demonstrated when new Chairman Col. Muammar Gaddafi delegated the responsibility of chairing the second session of the General Assembly to President Koroma, which he is excellently performing as this report is being filed.

Meanwhile, the Union yesterday issued a special congratulatory message to new US President Barrack Obama, read by out-gone Chairman Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania during his farewell speech (which he delivered in his native Kiswahili language). The congratulatory message (read in English) said, even though the AU usually sends congratulatory messages to all elected leaders with friendly relations to Africa, Barrack Obamas election has given much inspiration to African leaders because of his African/Kenyan roots.

Earlier speakers included host Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, African Union Commission Chairperson Jean Ping, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa, and Mohamed Ordeh, representing the Palestinian Authoritys Mahmoud Abbas.

This years theme is "Infrastructure Development in Africa, with emphasis on Transport, Energy and Investment", which is being discussed currently as President Koroma chairs the deliberations.

On Sunday 1st February 2009, behind closed doors, the African leaders discussed the idea of the formation of an African Union government piloted by Col. Gaddafi, but there has been no outright approval of the idea, as Tanzanias Kikwete said, "In principle, we said the ultimate is the United States of Africa. How we proceed to that ultimate there are building blocks," stating that they have agreed to first transform the African Union Commission into an AU Authority with a broader mandate. The responsibility to see this through now squarely rests on Gaddafi as the new Chairman of the AU.

The summit ends today with a press a statement.

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