Ghana is to lead the African Union, instead of the original plan for Sudan to have the chairmanship. African heads of State dropped proposals for Sudanese president Omar Al-Bashir to take over, because of the sensitivity of the conflict in Darfur.
It meant the conference in Addis Ababa could focus on the Somalia crisis instead.
“I was delighted to hear that Ethiopian troops have started leaving Somalia,” commissioner Alpha Oumar Konare told the conference. “But it will be chaos if African troops are not in place quickly.” Ban Ki-Moon, the UN’s new secretary general, said a solution in Darfur is a priority.
Louis Michel, the EU development commissioner, insisted on the urgency of the crisis in southern Sudan: “We really have to put pressure on all the people, on all the parties, the rebels, also the Janjaweed, the government, all these people, all the actors have to deliver now,” he said.
The 8000 strong African Union force in Darfur is struggling to keep rebels and pro-government militias apart. The UN wants to get involved by providing better security, but Sudan is refusing to allow the UN to get involved. Meanwhile the human tragedy in the region continues.