AU summit opens with a special emphasis on women

Conflict will also dominate this continental gathering of the 54-nation body as it tends to.

Heads of states at the African Union summit opening in Addis Ababa. Picture: African Union Facebook official page.

PRETORIA - The official theme of today's African Union summit opening in Addis Ababa is human rights with a special emphasis on women.

But conflict will dominate this continental gathering as it tends to do at most summits of the 54-nation body.

This year Burundi's slide back into ethnic violence dominates the agenda.

African Union leaders want to send 5,000 peacekeepers into Burundi.

After what happened in Rwanda nearly 22 years ago, avoiding genocide was at the very root of the interventionist AU replacing the quieter OAU.

Burundi's Foreign Minister Alain Nyamitwe says he's confident there's strong support for his government's determination to avoid hosting AU peacekeepers.

AU Peace and Security Council chief Smail Chergui insists the stakes are high and Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza's options are running out.