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Vol 47 No 14

Published 7th July 2006

Posturing outweighs the policy

The Banjul summit failed to make progress on the main security and economic issues facing Africa

A week of African Union meetings in Banjul helps to explain why energetic Chairman Alpha Oumar Konaré is telling friends that he won't seek a second term next year. He says the organisation remains hidebound by bureaucracy and is failing in its biggest challenge - to protect civilians from being massacred by the Sudanese regime and its allied militias in Darfur. Konaré speaks emotionally of the privations endured by the more than two million Sudanese displaced by their own government. Against advice from his minders, he insisted on staying the night at Kalma camp near Southern Darfur capital Nyala in May: he saw the appalling conditions at first hand and heard accounts of ground force attacks and bombardment by Khartoum's airforce against defenceless villagers.

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