The newly launched Union for the Mediterranean will divide Africa north and south of the Sahara and create a two-speed cooperation with Europe in which black Africa will be relegated, Senegal's president said on Wednesday.
In a statement issued in Dakar, President Abdoulaye Wade, an outspoken advocate of African unity, spelled out his objections to the 43-nation Mediterranean grouping inaugurated on Sunday by French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris.
Wade, echoing criticism voiced by Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi who has spurned the initiative, said: "With North Africa turned towards the north, the Sahara will become just what we were fighting against, a wall that politically separates our continent into two parts."
He said Europe was offering North African states infrastructure and roads as part of a "basket of wedding gifts" for the union. "We've been asking for that in vain for a long time," he said.
Wade said sub-Saharan Africa, "black Africa, to call it by its name", was witnessing a "two-speed cooperation" by Europe which favoured the Arab north of the world's poorest continent.
"If we were all on the ground floor anyway, North Africa has just been moved up a floor," he added.
Wade said black African states had little choice but to pursue more vigorously the goal of political and economic unity.
"We don't have any other way than that of the United States of Africa which we can construct with the immense natural riches of our soil and sub-soil," he said.
Wade urged some black African leaders to abandon what he called "blind micro-nationalism".
Wade, who has in the past chided Europe for falling behind other more recent aggressive investors in Africa like China and India, said the European continent was seeking "new blood" by uniting with North Africa's Maghreb.
"But of course there are other obvious goals behind the Union for the Mediterranean initiative like Algeria's oil and gas and Libyan oil," he said.
He said even in Libya, "there are Mediterraneanists not very inclined towards black Africa".
Wade complained that his warnings about the Union for the Mediterranean were not being heeded by African Union leaders.
"The North African countries must clearly choose, as Gaddafi has done, because evidently you can't belong to two unions at the same time," he said.
Last Mod: 17 Temmuz 2008, 16:10