Konare calls for speedy African integration

Addis Ababa- Ethiopia (PANA) -- If Africa fails to speed up integration it runs the risk of disintegration, African Union (AU) Commission Chairperson Alpha Oumar Konare warned here Monday.
Addressing the opening session of the Eighth Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly, Konare urged African heads of state and government to aim at a united continent in which there would be no national borders in the next 15 years.
"We need freedom of movement in Africa so that Africans don't become foreigners on their own soil," he said.
"Africa should rely on its own resources and move along with a vision without having always to go to other nations to beg.
"Africans need to act together and struggle together in international trade negotiations so that our products and raw materials fetch better prices," Konare emphasised.
In order to speed up continental integration, the AU chief executive encouraged Africans to learn and speak Kiswahili, which he described as a pan-African language that belongs to no ethnic community.
In addition, Konare emphasised the use and development of African languages according to geographical regions of the continent.
Turning to Africa's partners in industrialised countries, Konare appealed to them to respect a responsible Africa.
"Don't humiliate us with the way you give us development assistance.
A responsible Africa is the only one that can be a genuine partner.
"We need to ensure our autonomy in partnership with the rest of the world," he said.
Meanwhile, Konare has asked AU Member States to contribute troops urgently to the organisation's peacekeeping mission in Somalia.
"Today I am delighted that Ethiopia troops have begun withdrawing from Somalia, but if the troops of the African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) are not deployed quickly there could be more chaos," he cautioned.
So far only Uganda, Malawi, Nigeria and Ghana have announced that they would contribute around 4,000 troops to AMISOM, half of the number required to protect institutions of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia.
The AU has decided to send troops into Somalia to create a conducive environment for starting inter-Somali dialogue on national peace and reconstruction after 16 years of anarchy.
Konare appealed to authorities in Somalia to accept dialogue with all Somali clans and political groups, except extremists who were calling for a holy war or claiming territories.
He said the proposed 8,000-strong AMISOM would not be able to bring peace alone to Somalia.
"If we don't find a durable solution, we run the risk of internationalising the Somali conflict.
We should do everything possible now to deploy the troops and get the inter-Somali dialogues initiated," Konare said.
He appreciated regional and international support for enabling the DR Congo to wake up to peace, and called for the same support in other hotbeds of conflict in Africa, notably Darfur in Sudan, Guinea and Cote d'Ivoire.
"Over the past month Darfur has witnessed some progress to peace.
We need to implement and respect [the region's] peace agreements.
"Peace in Sudan means peace in Chad, peace in Central Africa Republic, so that there could be trust and confidence between these countries.
" League of Arab States (LAS) Secretary-General Amr Moussa, Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Patrick Manning, and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressed the opening session as invited guests.

29 january 2007 10:44:00




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