Article published on the 2009-02-04 Latest update 2009-02-04 17:33 TU
The African Union summit concluded on Wednesday with division over Moamer Kadhafi’s plans for unification of the 53 member countries after the 12th ordinary session of its assembly in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The leader of Libya, who is the new chairman of the AU, started a debate during the summit over a suggestion to integrate the continent into what he calls the “United States of Africa”.
His comments led to the extension of the summit by an extra day and overshadowed the official agenda which focused on infrastructure development.
“After earnest efforts toward Africa’s unity, we were able to agree on transforming the AU Commission into the AU Authority, which is a very significant step,” said Kadhafi.
Kadhafi, who came to power in Libya in 1969 during a coup, sees the AU as a way of improving Africa’s profile internationally, but it is not clear how integration would work.
Other developments during the summit include the AU decision to ask the ICC to postpone pursuing a war crimes case against Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir.
Leaders from other African countries were mixed in their reaction.
“Africans are polite, but deserve respect,” said Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.
“The coming decade or so is likely to be very dark indeed for Africa,” said Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.
In his closing speech Kadhafi praised Barack Obama, the first black President of the US.
“The black people’s struggle has vanquished racism. It was God who created colour. Today Obama, a son of Kenya, a son of Africa, has made it in the United States of America,” he said.
Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, newly elected President of Somalia said he is hoping to receive support from the AU to tackle the country’s security problems
“We are expecting a lot from our brothers in the African union, and as you are aware we now have the contingency of African Union in Somalia,” Sharif told RFI.