Minister of foreign affairs Henry Okello Oryem

Minister of foreign affairs Henry Okello Oryem

Addressing journalists at the ministry of foreign affairs in Kampala on Thursday, Oryem blamed western media for diverting public attention from milestones achieved at the summit to ?falsehoods.?

?It is unfortunate that western media instead of highlighting the achievements of the AU summit decided to divert attention of their listeners,? Oryem stated.

The Minister made reference to a diplomatic stalemate that ensued when a High Court in South Africa ordered government to arrest Sudan?s President, Omar Bashir over war crimes.

Bashir flew out of the country shortly before the summit ended. Oryem said that the court order could not be enforced by the South African government since it was issued after Bashir had left the country.

He said the summit had requested the International Criminal Court (ICC) to halt proceedings against Kenya?s Deputy President, William Ruto, until it addresses concerns of bias against African leaders.

The state minister for foreign affairs, Okello Oryem told journalists at a briefing yesterday that the African heads of state agreed to oppose ?selective prosecution? by the Hague-based court.

?The summit requested the ICC to terminate or suspend the proceedings against the deputy president, William Ruto until Africa?s concerns are considered,? Oryem disclosed.

Ruto faces a myriad of charges at the ICC over the 2007 post-election violence in Kenya. Similar charges against President Uhuru Kenyatta were dropped last year after the ICC withdrew the charges.

The Johannesburg summit agreed to form a ministerial committee on foreign affairs to engage the UN Security Council on the ICC?s alleged bias against African leaders.

President Yoweri Museveni attended the summit and presented Uganda?s progress report on the Africa Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), showing Uganda focusing on infrastructure, energy, and roads.

The summit discussed the situation in Burundi where thousands are fleeing unrest, and South Sudan where mediators are pushing for the formation of a transitional government of national unity.

The summit stressed the need to promote free movement of people in Africa, including offering visas to Africans on arrival at ports of entry, and improving cross-border migration.

The AU summit discussed the challenges of migration, xenophobia, terrorism and radical extremism, as well as ways to improve trade and make Africa self-reliant.

The summit was held under the theme: ?Year of Women Empowerment and Development towards Africa?s 2063 Agenda.?

Agenda 2063 aims to empower women in rural and urban areas with access to control of finances, governance, electoral process, conflict prevention, education and science and technology.

A budget of $416m was approved for 2016 to facilitate the AU?s projects under a ten-year plan to implement Age 2063.

By Taddeo Bwambale, The New Vision

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