Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Gaddafi urges pan-African state

Colonel Muammar Gaddafi

Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi has described the African Union as a failure and vowed to press ahead with plans for a single African government.

Speaking in Guinea's capital, Conakry, Mr Gaddafi said there was no future for individual African nation states.

He urged leaders attending next month's African Union summit in Ghana to decide to create a United States of Africa.

Mr Gaddafi has long been a leading proponent of the idea, but some observers say it is not realistic.

"At the Accra summit we are going to get straight to the point. Let those who are hesitating, get out of our way," he told tens of thousands of people at a rally in Conakry.

"For 40 years all the summits have failed," he said. "Our micro-states have no future."


The Libyan leader went on to visit Sierra Leone where hundreds of people came out onto the streets of the capital, Freetown, to greet him, despite allegations that he supported the notorious Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels during the country's brutal civil war.

Opposition leader Charles Magai said he felt Mr Gaddafi should not have been invited.

"If I were president of Sierra Leone I would only say to him that the people of Sierra Leone do not welcome you at this point in time. He should first of all apologise to the people and then the question of reparation could be considered," Mr Magai told the BBC.

The BBC's Umaru Fofana in Freetown says Mr Gaddafi has pumped a lot of money into Sierra Leone, especially in the last year.

Our correspondent says it is a strategy that seems to have paid off as many people seemed to agree with the red-carpet treatment he is receiving.

"He's going around promoting peace in Africa so I think he deserves a welcome," one man said as Mr Gaddafi arrived.

"I agree he supported them (the RUF) initially because he was thinking they were on a just cause and later when he saw that they have diverted from what initially they wanted to do, I think he moved away from them."

After Sierra Leone, Mr Gaddafi goes to Ivory Coast before travelling to the summit in Accra.

The idea of a single pan-African government was first promoted by Kwame Nkrumah, who led Ghana to independence in 1957.

BBC NEWS | Africa | Gaddafi urges pan-African state