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14 December, 2003
INAUGURAL SESSION OF AFRICAN PARLIAMENT SET FOR MARCH 2004

The Steering Committee on the Protocol to the Treaty establishing the Africa Economic Community relating to the Pan African Parliament (PAP) met at the Headquarters of the AU Commission in Addis Ababa, on 8 and 9 December 2003, in order to assess the status of ratifications of the Protocol and to review preparations for the Inaugural Session of the Pan African Parliament.

Julia Dolly Joiner
Ms. Julia Dolly Joiner, AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, speaking on behalf of AU Commission Chair Oumar Konaré, welcomed the Speakers and Members of Parliament that make up the committee. Julia Joiner expressed appreciation for the work being done by the Committee.

The Committee is composed of the Speakers of the parliments of the AU constituent states of South Africa, Botswana, Cameroon, Gabon, Libya, Mali, Rwanda, the Sahrawi Republic, Tanzania and Togo.

The Committee on the Protocol of the Pan African Parliament is chaired by Dr Frene Noshir Ginwala, Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of South Africa. The Committee expressed regret on account of the fact that it has not been possible to comply with the Maputo Summit Decision to hold the Inaugural Session of the PAP by the 31st of January, 2004, and agreed that the session will be held in the third week of March 2004.

The Committee also discussed the modalities for the Credentials Committee, the list of Observers, the rules and procedures for nominating and electing the office bearers of the Pan African Parliament, the Parliamentary Committees to be established, the themes for debate for the first session, the oath of office for Members of the PAP, the budget, as well as staffing and logistical arrangements.

All national Parliaments are expected to nominate and elect 5 members each to the PAP and to submit the names of the representatives before 10th February 2004. The Committee will hold its next meeting on 13 and 14 February 2004 in Addis Ababa to review the progress made in the preparations for the inaugural session of the PAP.
    
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