‘We cannot fashion the future of Africa by begging’ – Colonel Gadaffi opens AU s

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Members of the 53-nation African Union held a summit meeting in the Libyan coastal town of Sirte last Monday and Tuesday, on the eve of the G-8 summit.

The AU meeting was hosted by Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gadaffi.

In his opening speech Gadaffi warned Africans against begging to the G8 nations.

He said: ‘We have talked about African unity and we say that this does not contradict our national sovereignty.

‘But our national sovereignty is violated and threatened by the lack of African unity.’

He stressed: ‘What we are concerned about is unifying the mutual factors that divide us on the continental level – strategic factors.

‘It is a fine thing that you should run your country as you like, with a parliament, a cabinet, with security, economy, education, etc.

‘We in the AU will not have anything to do with this, there is no need for the AU to be involved.

‘But regarding the strategic aspect, the AU will alleviate the burden on the nation state if it takes over the building, maintenance and running of the principle airports, ports, railways and motorways.

‘It would be a great thing if nation states could get rid of national burdens which would be shouldered by the AU.’

He asked: ‘Where are we going? We have been calling for the united nations of Africa for 100 years, since 1900.’

Referring to the G8 summit, the Libyan leader added: ‘We must adapt our lives in our own way to the social, economic climate and so on and international cooperation is inevitable.

‘But this cooperation must be based on benefit and on mutual respect and interest.

‘We are exposed to something dual – which appears attractive on the outside but is actually the opposite.

‘There is an attempt to present reforms, calls and proposals for giving aid to help Africa.

‘We are grateful and thank them. But when they tie this to humiliating conditions – that is humiliation, not aid.

‘We do not want humiliation. If you want to give charity to someone, just do it and go away.’

He stressed: ‘We cannot fashion Africa’s future by begging.

‘Begging does not make the future of any country and cannot make the future of Africa.

‘Begging at the door of the big eight, or ten or seven, will not make Africa’s future.

‘We need a plan for cooperation between the great and the small.

‘We harm Africa when we knock on the door of the great and beg for charity.

‘In order to get debts reduced, cancelled or rescheduled we have to endure hundreds of humiliations and abuses and we deserve this, because we have made excessive use of debts.

‘By the way, where has all this debt money gone? How was the money used?

‘Was it used to pay employees salaries or the army or the police? This is wrong.

‘It should be used for financially viable projects so that this project can pay back the debt instalments to the donors.

‘We thank Mr Tony Blair because he is enthusiastic about supporting Africa. But he and us only need to go to the door of the wealthy to beg and beseech them to give some of their leftovers.

‘It is well-known that when the wealthy eat their full, they leave leftovers to be given to the poor.

‘We and Blair are at the door. Britain alone cannot offer this support, but we thank him for putting forward a proposal to the wealthy to be kind enough and give to the poor.’

However, Gadaffi pointed out: ‘We are not poor, we are wealthy. The international statistics of the resources I have read to you make Africa a rich continent.’

He added: ‘They scare us with the AIDS issue and the AIDS assistance. This AIDS was not discovered in the 1980s, we have had it for hundreds of years.

‘This virus has been in existence for hundreds of years and we live with it. It has now been exploited so that the capitalist companies can trade in African patients and exaggerate this disease. It is trading in the disease.

‘We have a population increase, but we are not suffering from the AIDS problem or the like. We have a three per cent birth rate increase. We do not have a problem, no matter what AIDS does.

‘Our population was 250 million in the past, but it is 700 million now and will be one billion in the future.

‘Leave AIDS alone, because we are not interested in it. People die everyday, whether or not they have the AIDS. Others also die of cancer, mad-cow disease and bird flu.

‘Why do we not ask the international institutions for loans without political, humiliating conditions.

‘We borrow from them, return the loans and use the funds in economic projects which generate economic returns.

‘We are facing pressures over the freedom of trade. We allow their goods to enter Africa, while we have not allowed our African goods to move freely between African countries.

‘We are currently facing a serious problem. It is the rise in oil prices.

‘The African countries have greatly been affected by this matter. Some states may collapse as a result of increasing oil prices.

We, in Africa, have oil, gas and water. We should integrate.

‘The African economy and the constituent of the African economy should integrate. We should integrate oil, water and gas and share these resources.

‘An African country may come and ask Libya to sell it oil for $55 per barrel, that is five dollars less per barrel, although its price is 65 dollars per barrel, Brent oil for instance.

‘When you calculate this, they add up to millions. It is fine with me as Muammar Gadaffi, but this money is not allowed by the Libyan people.’

Gadaffi continued: ‘On the occasion of the presence of our brother, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan with us, we tell him that what had been proposed to us was not expansion of the Security Council.

‘It was not rendered like this. We were told: Reforming the UN.

‘The UN firstly means the General Assembly, which contains the whole of the UN. It then means the guardian council, the Security Council and the social and economic council.

‘It also means the International Court of Justice, the FAO, the UNICEF, the UNESCO, etc. This is the UN and its organisations.

‘They told us: “Reforming the UN.” We were hopeful and said that since the General Assembly was the UN, then it would be the first to be targeted by reform so as to achieve democracy in the UN.

‘We believe that reform means respecting the decisions of the International Court of Justice.

‘It transpires in the end that reform means the expansion of the Security Council. You should have told us this from the very beginning.’

He concluded: ‘We have an African army consisting of two and a quarter million soldiers. They spend 15bn dollars annually on this force. So why should we need forces from outside Africa?’