Malawi Government has announced that it will not go ahead to host the African Union Summit which was scheduled to take place next month in Lilongwe.
The development comes barely 24 hours after the Sudanese Government wrote the African Union Commission to move the summit from Malawi to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.
Malawi’s Vice President Khumbo Kachali made the announcement Friday in his special address to the nation monitored on the public broadcaster Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC).
The Vice President said the African Union Commission has informed the Malawi Government that as a host nation of the summit it has an obligation to invite every head of state and government including the Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir.
He said following the communication from the AU Commission, cabinet met on Friday morning where it reached an agreement not to go ahead with the hosting.
“The African Union has written us a letter informing us that if we don’t allow al-Bashir to come to Malawi, then they will move the summit to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia,” Vice President Kachali said.
“After considering the interests of Malawians, I want to inform Malawians that the cabinet met today and decided it was not interested to accept the conditions by the African Union, therefore Malawi is not hosting the summit,” said Kachali.
“Cabinet noted that the state of preparedness of our country is beyond any doubt ready. This was confirmed by the evaluation mission from the African Union which was in the country last week and left satisfied with the progress made in all aspects of our hosting obligations,” he explained.
The Veep, however, said during the meeting cabinet observed that it was not in the best interest of all Malawians to accept the conditions put forward by the African Union Commission to receive the indicted Sudanese president Bashir.
“Cabinet, therefore, took a decision that Malawi will not be hosting the AU Summit and we have informed the African Union Commission,” he added.
The Malawi’s vice president further said that cabinet took the decision with the primary consideration of what is in the best interests of Malawians.
“While we have obligations to abide by the decisions of the African Union, we are also under the obligation to other international agreements including the Roman Statue,” conduced the vice president.
Malawi President Joyce Banda said last week government will arrest Al Bashir should he dare come to Malawi for the summit.
Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court over charges he masterminded genocide and other atrocities during his country’s Darfur conflict.
As an ICC member state, Malawi is supposed to arrest him if he enters its territory – and the global court’s chief prosecutor on Monday said countries that failed to detain him should have their aid cut.
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