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Obama sends top officials to AU summit

Saturday January 29 2011

By ARGAW ASHINE, NATION Correspondent in Addis Ababa

The US Government has sent a team of high level security officials to the African Union summit to hold consultations with Sudanese authorities.

According to US Embassy in Addis Ababa, the officials including deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson and National Security Council Senior Director for Africa Mary Yates, will be in Addis at AU summit on Sunday.

US Special Envoy to Sudan Scott Gration, USAid Deputy Assistant Administrator for Africa Larry Garber and Feed the Future Deputy Coordinator for Development William J. Garvelink are also in the delegation.

The US team is also scheduled to hold the first South Sudan post-referendum consultation and the next steps on peace efforts in Darfur and eastern Sudan regions.

Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir and his Deputy Salva Kiir are already in Addis, having arrived on Friday evening.

Sudanese Embassy officials said talks will focus on the post referendum arrangements and sustaining lasting peace and stability in Sudan.
The US has pledged to offer "incentives" to Khartoum, including removing Sudan from a list of terrorists supporting nations.


Mr Gration will also proceed to Sudan next week to assess the latest development in the country gearing for a split.

Besides the AU summit, the United Nations and the union's top officials will hold a private consultations on Sunday with the Sudanese parties and Ethiopian officials, in the latter's capacity as the chair of the regional security bloc, Igad.

“The delegation will attend the African Union Summit plenary and conduct consultations with African and other leaders on a wide range of bilateral, regional and global issues, including regional security, human rights, and democratisation.” US Embassy statement says.

Meanwhile, the US will on Monday inaugurate its biggest embassy complex in sub-Saharan Africa in Addis Ababa, re-affirming the global super power's increasing interest in the Horn of Africa region.

Several African leaders are expected to attend the inauguration.