Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday urged African countries to break with Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and pressure him to stop attacking civilians. During a trip to Ethiopia, she also called on the north and south of Sudan to quickly resolve their differences – as Southern Sudan prepares to become the world's newest country.
Clinton, the first secretary of state to visit the African Union's headquarters, came with a message that regional leaders should learn something from the Arab uprisings.
"If you believe that the freedoms and opportunities that we speak about as universal should not be shared by your own people — men and women equally — or if you do not desire to help your own people work and live with dignity, you are on the wrong side of history and time will prove that," she said.
Diplomats did clap and laugh at a few moments — when the lights went out and Clinton kept going, and when she pointed out that there are still too many leaders in Africa who think democracy means one election, one time.
But they were fairly silent when she appealed to them to break with Gadhafi.
"I urge all African states to call for a genuine cease-fire and to call for Gadhafi to step aside. I also urge you to suspend the operations of Gadhafi's embassies in your countries, to expel pro-Gadhafi diplomats and to increase contact and support for the Transitional National Council."
The council is the rebel government trying to oust Gadhafi.
As Clinton herself pointed out, there are strong disagreements over how to deal with Gadhafi, who over the years has bankrolled the African Union and supported many member countries — even paying their AU and United Nations membership dues.
"Your words and your actions could make the difference in bringing this situation to finally close," Clinton said.
Her visit came as African leaders struggled to keep the peace between north and south Sudan. At her hotel, Clinton met with the leader of South Sudan and separately with an adviser to Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. Bashir had left earlier in the day.
And a volcano ash cloud near Ethiopia forced Clinton to cut short her diplomatic push as well.