Ethiopia The African Union chose Ghana to head the 53-member bloc Monday, turning aside Sudan's bid for the second year in a row because of the worsening bloodshed in Darfur.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had opened the summit with a call on African leaders to end the deadlock created by Sudan's refusal to allow U.N. peacekeepers into the violence-racked region in western Sudan.
Ban later said he and Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir agreed "to accelerate joint African Union-United Nations efforts for the political process and the preparation for a peacekeeping mission."
Sudanese leaders were adamant that they deserved the rotating chairmanship, but international organizations opposed it, accusing the Sudanese government of taking part in the conflict in Darfur. Rebel leaders in the Sudanese region have said they would stop considering the AU peacekeeping mission as an honest broker there if Sudan was selected.
"By consensus vote, President (John) Kufuor of Ghana has been elected to the presidency of the African Union," Alpha Oumar Konare, the AU's chief executive, told reporters in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.