Egypt Hosts Africa Summits on Sudan, Libya Crises


Egypt was Tuesday hosting emergency summits with African leaders on the upheavals in Sudan and Libya, amid fears that any instability could spill over into neighbouring countries.

As current chair of the African Union, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was heading the summits, which the presidency said opened with talks on Sudan.

The leaders were to focus on "the evolution of the situation in Sudan", where demonstrators have kept up protests after the military on April 11 toppled president Omar al-Bashir, Sisi's office said. 

They will also seek to "stem the current crisis" in Libya, where commander Khalifa Haftar has been leading an offensive on Tripoli, Egypt's presidency said.

It said Chadian President Idriss Deby, Rwanda's head of state Paul Kagame, Congo's Denis Sassou-Nguesso, Somalia's Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, South Africa's Cyril Ramaphosa and Djibouti's leader Ismail Omar Guelleh were to attend.

The leaders of South Africa and Somalia, among the first to arrive, held separate meetings with the Egyptian president before the first summit on Sudan.

Sisi "affirmed the need to formulate an African vision to address crises in the African continent based on the principle of African solutions for African crises", his office said after the talks with Ramaphosa. 

The summits are the first to be convened by African leaders on the current crises in Sudan and Libya.

On Sudan, the objective "is to discuss... the most appropriate ways to address the evolution of the situation and to contribute to stability and peace", Egypt's presidency said. 

The AU on April 15 threatened to suspend Sudan if the military does not hand over power within 15 days of that date to a civilian authority. 

It has echoed protesters' demands, saying "a military-led transition would be completely contrary to the aspirations of the people of Sudan".

The AU suspended Egypt and Central African Republic in 2013 following coups in both countries. Both have since had their membership restored.

AU commission chief Moussa Faki is also expected to participate in the Cairo discussions, along with officials from Ethiopia, South Sudan, Uganda, Kenya and Nigeria.

- Aim of 'relaunch political process' -

Another summit on Libya, which will group the leaders of Rwanda, South Africa and the Congo with Sisi, will focus on "relaunching a political process... (and) the elimination of terrorism", Egypt's presidency said. 

Strongman Haftar's self-styled Libyan National Army launched an offensive against Tripoli, the seat of the internationally recognised Government of National Accord, on April 4.

The battle for control of the capital between the LNA and forces of the GNA has so far left more than 260 dead and wounded more than 1,200 others, according to a toll from the World Health Organization.

The United Nations says the Haftar offensive has also displaced more than 30,000 people.

Egypt is a strong ally of Haftar, who is also backed by the UAE and -- according to the White House -- was consulted by US President Donald Trump in a phone call last week.

Before the launch of the Tripoli assault, Faki had said the AU would host a "reconciliation" conference in July aimed at uniting Libya's political rivals.

Libya has been mired in chaos since the 2011 ouster of dictator Moamer Kadhafi and a series of international efforts have so far failed to unite the country.

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