Addis Abab: African Union leaders sought a
common strategy on Sunday to resolve Ivory Coast`s political
crisis and address other hot spots at a summit also awaiting
the birth of a new state of south Sudan.
The leaders homed in on the continent`s trouble spots and
praised its successes, notably then peaceful handover of power
in Guinea and the conduct of the independence poll in southern
Close to 99 per cent of southern Sudanese chose to secede
from the north in a landmark January 9-15 referendum,
according to the first complete preliminary results announced
UN chief Ban Ki-moon told the two dozen heads of state
assembled at the meeting to "confront common challenges."
AU Commission chief Jean Ping said he had "followed
closely" the recent turmoil in Tunisia, which brought an end
to the 23-year rule of president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali
earlier this month.
The AU had so far remained largely silent on Tunisia.
"I hope the crisis and various acts we have witnessed ...
we hope Tunisia will be able to surmount them and organise
free and fair elections," Ping said.
He also said the commission has been "following with
great attention the situation in Egypt" where riots have
claimed more than 100 lives since Tuesday.
The UN chief called for "restraint" in the deadly
"With respect to Egypt I would also make a call for
restraint, non-violence and respect of fundamental rights and
freedoms and human rights," he told the summit in his opening
On the continent`s more long-running crises, Ping said
the situation in Somalia "remains of concern."
Many of the pre-summit talks have been given over to the
political crisis in Ivory Coast, where Alassane Ouattara has
been recognised as the winner of the November presidential
poll but his rival Laurent Gbagbo refuses to step down.