Obama excludes Egypt, six others from Africa summit

President Obama has excluded Egypt and six other nations from his upcoming Africa summit because of issues with their democratic records.

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Egypt is one of four countries – along with the Central African Republic, Madagascar and Guinea-Bissau – that have been suspended by the African Union in the wake of military coups or other political repression. Three others – Eritrea, Sudan and Zimbabwe – are subject to U.S. or U.N. sanctions.

“President Obama will extend an invitation to all African heads of state or governments except those that are not in good standing with the United States or are suspended from the African Union,” a White House official said in an email. 

A spokesman for Egypt's Foreign Ministry on Wednesday called the decision “wrong and short-sighted,” the Associated Press reports. The Obama administration insists its decision to exclude Egypt, a U.S. ally whose relationship with the White House is under strain following the ouster of democratically elected president Mohamed Morsi, is not politically motivated but due only to its suspension from the African Union.

The summit, scheduled for Aug. 5-6, seeks to build on Obama's trip to Africa last year to strengthen trade and economic ties with a region that's projected to grow at a 6.1-percent clip in 2014, according to the latest projections from the International Monetary Fund. It will also touch on security concerns plaguing Africa, notably the conflicts in South Sudan and the Central African Republic that have seen the engagement of U.S. troops and aircraft.

“Eritrea will not be invited because the U.N. continues to sanction Eritrea for its efforts to destabilize Somalia and because Eritrea has not accepted full diplomatic relations with the United States, rejecting our offer of an ambassador,” the White House official said. 

“Sudan will not be invited as President [Omar] Bashir is the subject of an arrest warrant [from the International Criminal Court in The Hague], which was issued following the U.N. Security Council’s referral of the situation in Darfur to the ICC,” the official added. “The United States and the U.N. do not recognize the Western Sahara as a country and thus Western Sahara will not be invited.”

Finally, “Zimbabwe will not be invited as President [Robert] Mugabe is currently a Specially Designated National and is subject to U.S. sanctions for undermining democratic processes and institutions in Zimbabwe.”

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