AU Commission changed into authority in Africa summit

African leaders on Sunday again delayed concrete moves towards creating a United States of Africa, despite a long campaign by Libya's Muammar Gaddafi.

AU Commission changed into authority in Africa summit
Gaddafi and other supporters like Senegal's President Abdoulaye Wade, have been calling for years for an accelerated process towards a union government, saying it is the only way to meet the challenges of globalisation, fighting poverty and resolving conflicts without Western interference.

Gaddafi's proposal dominated a sometimes heated African Union (AU) summit in Ghana in 2007, but no deal was reached.

The previous AU summit in Egypt last July produced a skeleton agreement and the first day of the current meeting in Ethiopia was devoted to the union proposal.

Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete told a news conference on Sunday night the meeting had agreed only to change the name of the current AU Commission into an "authority", rejecting a proposal by the body itself to transform it immediately into a union government.

Kikwete, the current AU chairman, suggested this would infringe the sovereignty of the AU's 53 states.

"In principle, we said the ultimate is a United States of Africa," Kikwete added, insisting the authority would have a bigger mandate, bigger budget and bigger capacities than the existing commission.

The Tanzanian president said the Addis summit would agree by its close on Wednesday on the new authority's structures but it would not be launched until the next summit in July. He said this would move the continent closer to a union government.

New authority

The new authority would have a president and vice president, and current AU commissioner positions would be transformed into the secretaries of "areas of shared competence" including poverty reduction, infrastructure, disease epidemics, peace and security and transnational crime and terrorism.

AU Commission chairman Jean Ping said recently that views on the speed of integration varied from nine to 35 years, but the continent needed to speak with a united voice to be heard in international negotiations on trade and other issues including climate change.

The official theme of this week's summit at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa is boosting infrastructure, which experts say is essential if Africa is to weather the global financial crisis.


Reuters
Last Mod: 02 Şubat 2009, 14:07
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