Bouteflika, Khadafi Call For A United Africa

SIRTE- Libya (PANA) -- The extra-ordinary summit of the Organisation of African Unity opened late Wednesday, with calls for African countries to merge into one state.
The current OAU chairman, Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, and the Libyan leader, Col.
Moammar Kadhafi, said unity was a must for Africa to enable it face the challenges of economic blocs and the new millennium.
Bouteflika added that Africa would carry more weight on the international scene as a single union and "this meeting is trying to find ways and means in which we should improve the past achievements of the OAU in order to move forward.
" "I don't want to jump the gun.
But I am absolutely convinced that what we have put before us calls for great determination," he stressed.
"We are in agreement on the need to set up a continental entity which will exploit the best potential of the resources which the African continent has in abundance.
" He, however, warned that for this to be achieved, there must be peace as a basis of any development.
He praised the achievements of the OAU over the years, saying the organisation has set the right foundation for the summit's agenda such as the setting up of institutions to deal with various issues.
Kadhafi also hammered on the same theme of unity for Africa, saying: "We have to go to battle which has to be fought and won.
And this is a battle for unity.
" He said the OAU charter needed to be re-structured to achieve this unity which was envisioned by pan-Africanists like late President Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, who faced opposition on the issue.
Kadhafi noted that perhaps this was understandable considering that in 1963 half the continent was still under colonialism.
"The time has now come to revive the issue of unity after the liberation of South Africa and Namibia," he added.
"Now Africa is independent.
The only things that stand in our way are the ways and means of achieving this unity," the Libyan leader reiterated, amid applause.
He said while German dictator Adolf Hitler wanted to unite Europe through war, "we want to achieve unity through peace, love and friendship".
Kadhafi praised other leaders on the continent for their "fire fighting efforts" to bring about peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone and the horn of Africa.
OAU Secretary-General Salim Ahmed Salim said even though the organisation has its shortcomings, it has served the people of Africa well since its inception.
He admitted the challenges ahead were enormous if Africa has to forge ahead to stem marginalisation.
Recalling there are signed treaties and agreements which have remained unimplemented, he said "our voice will remain weak if we do not implement what we have agreed to do.
" "There is a big gap between declarations and our capacity and political will to carry out those declarations," he added.
The summit, therefore, should serve as a basis for rekindling the vision of a united Africa "at peace with itself and the rest of the world," he said.

09 september 1999 09:29:00

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