|Malawi President not to attend AU Summit|
|Saturday, 16 June 2012 19:17|
Banda said this upon arrival at Chileka Airport in Blantyre commercial centre in north Malawi from the United Kingdom and the United States where she had gone for official visits.
She could not give reasons for her failure to attend the summit which until June 8 was scheduled to take place in Malawi capital, Lilongwe.
Responding to a journalist’s question that she was making too many foreign trips.
“As for the trip to the US, it was fully funded by USAID.
She urged Malawians to regard the whole issue as water under the bridge, saying when the donor community turned their backs on Malawi when president al Bashir attended the Comesa summit in October 2011, the AU did not show any concern, so it was not worthy repeating especially at the time the country was mending fences with the donor community.
“I as Joyce Banda and President of Malawi, I respect the decision by the African Union to move the AU summit from Lilongwe to Addis Ababa,” she said.
“As far as I’m concerned, I respect President Bashir and I respect him as President of Sudan.
Banda, who replaced President Bingu Mutharika on April 7 following the latter’s death, had in the first place refused to have Lilongwe host the AU Summit saying it would be too costly for the country whose economy was in shambles.
She however, changed tune later saying Lilongwe would host the AU summit to honour the wishes of her fallen predecesor, Mutharika.
But Banda made it clear that Malawi was not ready to host al Bashir saying doing so would threaten the country’s economic future since the donor community had made it clear that hosting the Sudan President would result in aid freeze to Malawi. — Xinhua.