Monday, January 31, 2011

New African Union Chairman Obiang Urges Africans To Take Lead In Solving Problems

The newly elected chairman of the African Union (AU), President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea, urged his fellow Africans to take the lead in resolving the conflicts that have ravaged the continent.

In his acceptance remarks, President Obiang said, “The crisis of the values of the African culture is reducing the unity and solidarity among our people. Africa must focus on the dialogue for a peaceful negotiated solution to the conflicts that ravage our towns. Africa must assume, more than ever, a leading role not just on the continent but in the international arena.”

Mr. Obiang, the President of Equatorial Guinea, assumed the AU chairmanship on January 30 at the organization’s annual summit, which was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. President Obiang was nominated by the Central African region and approved by the other AU members under a regional rotation system. He succeeds the Head of State of Malawi, Bingu Wa Mutharika. This is the first time that Equatorial Guinea, the only Spanish-speaking member in Africa, holds the chairmanship of the AU.

In his remarks, President Obiang also pledged to work to increase the socio-economic development of Africa and to build unity, peace and solidarity among the nations of the continent.

The summit, which ends on Monday, January 31, was attended by heads of state and of government from the entire continent as well as the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, and the President of France, Nicolas Sarkozy.