African Union likely to suspend Egypt after army deposes president

ADDIS ABABA Thu Jul 4, 2013 4:56pm EDT

Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, chairperson of African Union Commission, delivers her speech during the closing ceremony of the African Union 21st Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of States and Government in capital Addis Ababa May 27, 2013. REUTERS/Tiksa Neger

Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, chairperson of African Union Commission, delivers her speech during the closing ceremony of the African Union 21st Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of States and Government in capital Addis Ababa May 27, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Tiksa Neger

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ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - The African Union is likely to suspend Egypt after what it called the "unconstitutional" removal of President Mohamed Mursi by the army, AU officials said on Thursday.

The AU's Peace and Security Council (PSC) will discuss the Egyptian situation on Friday and, according to an AU source, is likely to implement the usual response to any interruption of constitutional rule by a member state, and suspend it.

The AU issued a statement saying said the organization's head, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, "observes that the removal of ... Mursi was in violation of the provisions of the Egyptian Constitution and falls under the AU doctrine on unconstitutional changes of Government."

It said the PSC "will deliberate on the situation in Egypt and take the required decisions."

The AU source, who asked not to be identified, told Reuters: "The belief is that the doctrine will be applied, which is suspension for any country where an unconstitutional change has taken place."

Ramtane Lamamra, head of the PSC, told Reuters: "We intend to dispatch a mission and urge the Egyptian authorities to establish dialogue."

In the March, the AU suspended the Central African Republic after rebels overthrew the government. In recent years, the AU has suspended Madagascar and Mali for similar reasons. Mali's suspension has since been lifted.

The AU's position on Egypt was echoed by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta.

"We did have an elected government elected through a due democratic process, so what is happening currently in Egypt is indeed a matter of grave concern not just to us in Africa, but should be a matter of great concern to any true believer of a democratic process," Kenyatta, whose own election victory in March was contested in the courts but upheld, told reporters.

(Addtional reporting by Edmund Blair in Nairobi; Editing by George Obulutsa and Robin Pomeroy)

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