AU to focus "United States of Africa" at Accra summit

Addis Ababa- Ethiopia (PANA) – African leaders Tue-sday chose the theme, "An AU government: towards the United States of Africa", as the sole agenda item for the next African Union (AU) summit scheduled next July in Accra, Ghana.
Foreign Affairs minister Cheikh Tidiane Gadio of Senegal disclosed the agenda item to journalists here, saying the African heads of States and government agreed on the issue following two hours of deliberations.
The proposal was referred to the heads of State and government of the African Union, who have been meeting since Monday, by president Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal, who was absent at the summit.
The Senegalese Foreign minister presented the proposal on behalf of his president and with the support of Nigeria.
According to Cheikh Tidiane Gadio, "President Wade suggested that the heads of State seize the opportunity offered by their next summit in Accra to devote a special session to the issue of the United States of Africa", while adding that it is necessary to prepare a new roadmap to better determine the next steps to be taken.
The Senegalese Foreign minister stressed that the issue of the United States of Africa has been in discussion at the level of the African Union for three years, without any progress being made.
"It is important to know if we want an organisation of cooperation, such as the one envisaged by the OAU (Organisation of African Unity) founding fathers, who were in favour of a gradual approach or a union which would draw its inspiration from Kwame Nkrumah's federalism", Gadio has said as he paraphrased president Wade, who considers that "nothing is more important than to know where one is heading to".
The proposal was finally adopted after discussions and if Nigeria and French-speaking countries as a whole were in favour of it, South Africa and the Southern African countries were not convinced of the necessity to root for the United States of Africa, an AU official who took part in the working session revealed.
The official argued that the African Union is not capable of overcoming its financial and administrative difficulties".
President Wade's proposal was finally accepted and will be the sole item on the agenda of the Accra summit, a fact described by Cheikh Tidiane Gadio as a real "historic victory", considering that the summit will convene in Kwame Nkrumah's country, 44 years after the launch of the continental body (now defunct Organisation of African Unity) in 1963 in Accra.
In the mean time, President Wade suggested, according to his minister of External Affairs, that non-governmental organisations, women's associations, the media, among others, reflect on the subject so that each country will come to Accra with clear suggestions.
The issue of the United States of Africa as an item on the agenda of the seventh summit of the African Union heads of State and government, held in July last year, in Banjul, Gambia.
But a group of experts set up by the AU Commission studied the issue and finally decided to refer it to the Executive Council.
The members of the Council later rejected the conclusions by the experts.
The eighth summit of the African Union heads of State and government ended Tuesday in Addis Ababa.

30 january 2007 18:07:00

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