Home | News    Monday 23 January 2006

Egypt’s Mubarak will not attend AU summit

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Jan 23, 2006 (CAIRO) — Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak will not attend a meeting of African leaders in Sudan because he has a cold, presidential spokesman Suleiman Awad said on Monday.

"President Mubarak wanted to attend ... but like anyone else, he has come down with a cold," he said.

The Sudanese press has been hostile to Egypt in recent weeks after 27 Sudanese asylum seekers died when Egyptian police broke up a three-month protest outside U.N. offices in Cairo. The protesters were demanding to be moved to the West.

In a report published late on Sunday, MENA said Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit had delivered a letter from Mubarak to Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir expressing regret at not attending the African Union meeting, which starts on Monday.

"Despite his inability to take part in the summit, the Egyptian leader expressed confidence that the wisdom of President Bashir and other African leaders would render this important summit a success," the MENA report said.

Sudan has nominated itself to chair the 53-member AU, based on tradition that the host becomes the next head, but the bid has drawn criticism from rights groups which say a Sudanese presidency would hinder talks to resolve the Darfur conflict.

Human rights, culture and education are expected to be high on the summit’s agenda.

(Reuters)

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