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23 Jan 2012 20:32
President Jacob Zuma is to lead a government delegation to the 18th Ordinary Session of the African Union Assembly in Ethiopia this weekend, the department of international relations and cooperation said on Monday.
The event in Addis Ababa would reflect on the recommendations of the Seventh Ordinary Session of the AU Conference of Ministers of Trade, said spokesperson Clayson Monyela.
This session was charged with preparing for discussions around the theme, Boosting Intra-African Trade, he said.
“Consequently, the high level political discussion on issues relating to continental integration and intra-African trade present an opportunity for South Africa to lead and shape the approach and future agenda on these important areas.”
Given the increased prominence of African peace and security issues worldwide, the convention would also discuss these matters.
The summit is scheduled to start on January 29.
Elections for the AU commission chair will feature prominently during this year’s summit.
South Africa has stepped up its campaign for the election of Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to head the commission.
Dlamini-Zuma, a former foreign minister and Zuma’s ex-wife, is challenging Gabon’s Jean Ping, who has been AU commission chairperson since 2008 and is seeking re-election.
The 54 heads of state and government of the AU will hold a secret ballot at the summit to decide whether Ping gets a new term.
Dlamini-Zuma is backed by the 15-nation Southern African Development Community.
Ping has major support from French-speaking central and West African nations. He obtained the necessary two-thirds majority in the first round of voting in 2008.—Sapa
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