Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has been elected chairman of the African Union (AU) at the continental body’s summit in Ethiopia.
Also at the African Union meeting, a statue of Ethiopia’s last emperor was unveiled. Afterwards, a scuffle erupted between security guards for some African leaders and African Union guards, causing a delay in the entry procession of the heads of state into the main meeting.
Al-Sisi addressed the summit after being elected the new chairman, saying he would focus on security on the African continent.
“Our work must continue to improve peace and security in Africa in a holistic and sustainable manner.
“Mediation and preventive diplomacy will remain one of the priorities of the African Union,” Al- Sisi said.
The new African Union chairman said that “counter-terrorism requires the identification of those who support and finance it and combating them collectively. While we are aware of the difficulty and complexity of the struggle, this remains the only appropriate way to uproot terrorism and eradicate it.”
Egyptian leaders have been absent from African Union meetings since 1995 when an assassination attempt was made on the life of former leader Hosni Mubarak.
Egypt’s election brought to an end the one-year chairmanship of Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame.
African Union chairmen set agendas of issues to be addressed during their one-year tenure.
During his tenure, Kagame dramatically challenged the election results in the Democratic Republic of Congo.