Libya Tops Agenda At African Union Summit

Posted June 30th, 2011 at 8:50 am (UTC-5)
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African leaders have opened a summit in Equatorial Guinea expected to focus mainly on the conflict in Libya.

A panel of five African presidents is working on a plan for ending the crisis that they will present to the summit for approval.

The proposal includes a call for a cease-fire in Libya and a transition to democratic elections. Libyan rebels also want it to include a call for Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to immediately resign.

Representatives of both the rebels and Mr. Gadhafi's government are attending the two-day summit.

African leaders will also discuss the situation in Sudan. South Sudan is set to declare independence from the north on July 9, but the sides have engaged in deadly fighting at locations along their border.

Human Rights Watch strongly criticized Equatorial Guinea's government ahead of the summit. It says the government spent more than $800 million to construct a luxury complex for the conference while most of the country's citizens live in dire poverty.

It says authorities have also sharply limited public dissent and critical reporting.

Equatorial Guinea's President Teodoro Obiang Nguema has faced similar criticism before. Mr. Obiang has ruled the small country with an iron fist since seizing power in 1979.