Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gadaffi yesterday urged African nations to stop ‘begging’.

In a half-hour speech as host of the 53-nation African Union two-day summit in Sirte, Gadaffi said: ‘Pleading to the G8 to lift debts won’t make a future for Africa.

‘We need cooperation between the big and the small countries in the world.’

He stressed: ‘Begging won’t make a future for Africa. It creates a greater gap between the great ones and the small ones.’

Gadaffi also urged African countries to overcome past failures.

The summit is also discussing conflicts in Africa, particularly the Darfur crisis.

The Ghanian Foreign Minister, Nana Akufo-Addo, said: ‘We need to be able to depend on ourselves and have institutions at our beck and call that can address serious problems when they arise.

‘The African army is one of them.’

He added that Africa needed its own ‘organisations and institutions on the continent that can seriously address our problems.’

Somali Foreign Minister Abdullahi Sheekh Ismail told reporters: ‘Africa has got the will but does not have the means.

‘The G8 has got the means and all the logistical supportive means. It is very important that the political will should be combined with the resources that the G8 can afford to provide (help) to Africa.’

But Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said Africa was unlikely to be granted ‘a fairer trading environment’ by the G8, one of its key charges against the West.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Arab League Secretary-General Amr Mousa also attended the opening of the two-day meeting.

The African leaders meeting in Sirte are planning to push for two permanent seats on the UN Security Council.


Meanwhile in Edinburgh, riot police were mobilised against anti-capitalist protesters.

Clashes broke out after a group of about 200 protesters, some dressed as clowns, were surrounded by a police cordon during anti-G8 protests.

Another group of protesters managed to enter the Caledonian Exchange, housing the offices of the financial services company Standard Life, in an adjacent side street.

Lothian and Borders Police said organisers of a ‘Carnival for Full Enjoyment’ had failed to discuss their intentions with them or Edinburgh City Council.

Meanwhile, Virgin Atlantic boss Sir Richard Branson flew a gaggle of pop stars and campaigners to Edinburgh, where they held a press conference to publicise Wednesday’s Murrayfield concert.

Branson was accompanied by pop star Natalie Imbruglia and was joined by Long Walk to Justice organiser Midge Ure and comedian Eddie Izzard.

Those on the flight include the chairman for the Global Call for Action against Poverty (GCAP) campaign, Kumi Naidoo, and the director of Kenya Debt Relief Wahu Kaara.