Kadhafi leaves hall before AU summit opens

Banjul- Gambia (PANA) -- Libyan leader, Col.
Moammar Kadhafi was absent from the hall at the opening session of the 7th African Union (AU) summit of heads of states and governments, which began in Banjul Saturday, it was observed by PANA correspondents in Banjul.
Although the Libyan leader entered the hall before most of his counterparts, he left the premises just before the opening ceremony began, leaving the rest of the Libyan delegation there.
No official reason was given for the hurried departure, and neither the Gambians nor officials of the African Union Commission could offer an explanation.
However, some Libyan sources hinted that the Libyan leader's departure had been to protest a possible decision by African Union to withdraw its troops from Sudan next September.
Kadhafi was also absent from the VIP stand where Presidents Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, Mahmud Ahmadinejad of Iran, who were AU guests of honour, were sitting.
Twenty-five African heads of states and governments graced the summit with their presence, to the satisfaction of the Gambian hosts and officials who are attending the summit.
In separate remarks AU current chairperson, Congolese Denis Sassou Nguesso and AU Commission chairman, Alpha Oumar Konaré, paid a glowing tribute to Kofi Annan, who is taking part for the last time in his capacity as UN secretary general.
The main theme of the AU's Seventh ordinary summit is the integration and regionalisation of regional economic groupings.
Some burning issues on the agenda of the summit are the situation in Darfur, the electoral process in DR Congo and the Somali conflict.
Nonetheless, AU heads of states and governments are expected to focus on African integration and the issue of the United States of Africa.
The summit ends on Sunday.

01 july 2006 19:59:00

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