African Union suspends #Egypt after #Morsi ouster

The African Union suspended Egypt from the continental body Friday after the ouster of president Mohamed Morsi, in line with its strict rules against unconstitutional changes of government.

The AU’s Peace and Security “council decided to suspend the participation  of Egypt in AU activities until the restitution of constitutional order”, said  an official statement.

The pan-African bloc met Friday at AU headquarters in the Ethiopian capital  to discuss the political crisis in Egypt, following Morsi’s removal by the army  on Wednesday.

“The council reiterates the AU’s condemnation and rejection of any illegal  seizure of power,” the statement added.

“The overthrow of the democratically elected president does not conform to  the relevant provisions of Egypt’s constitution, and therefore falls under the  definition of an unconstitutional change of government.”    Ahead of the meeting, AU Commission chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma stressed  its “principled position” on such changes of government.

However, Mohamed Edrees, Egyptian ambassador to the AU, said ahead of the  decision that “the voice and the call of tens of millions of Egyptians must be  heard, understood and respected”.    Speaking Friday before the suspension, Edress said that Egypt wanted to  maintain its role in the AU and “continue to take part in this family”.    “The military role is to support the people, their role is not to instigate  a coup,” Edress added.

“Since the start of the Arab spring, it posed a challenge to the instrument  of the African Union. The AU, at that time, the council decided that what  happened in Egypt was a popular revolution and it dealt with it accordingly.”    The bloc has previously suspended members which broke its rule of  unconstitutional changes of government, most recently in March when it  suspended the Central African Republic after rebels seized power.

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