Gaddafi loses African Union chair

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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Gaddafi at last year's African Union summit, where he became president.
File photo of Mutharika, who is taking the presidency.

Muammar Gaddafi, leader of Libya, has not been able to win his bid to stay as chairman of the African Union, losing out to Malawian president Bingu wa Mutharika, who was backed by several eastern and southern states.

Gaddafi used his final speech to highlight the need for political unity between African states. Libya has been chairing the African Union for the last year, and the job of chair was due to go to a southern African representative. However, Gaddafi wished to retain the presidency, which was backed by Tunisia, and had allegedly won over other countries by paying their membership fees.

The African Union summit, held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, involved a speech to the African leaders by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, who called for the countries to strive for national union in Sudan, where the southern part of the country may secede from the north. In addition, the Secretary General highlighted the various achievements of the African Union. He said that they had "seen a sharp decrease in malaria and measles deaths across the continent, virtual gains in primary school enrolment [and] marked improvement in child health", stating that "we must build on these successes and help spread them around the world".

The three-day summit involves topics such as the state of affairs in Somalia, and a Senegalese proposal to resettle Haiti earthquake victims.

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