From: Biniam Tekle (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Mon Aug 31 2009 - 15:05:15 EDT
*Kadhafi blasts Israel over Africa's woes at AU summit* *<http://rawstory.com/>
* *[image: AFP] <http://www.afp.com/english/home/>
*Published: Monday August 31, 2009
Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi blasted Israel at a special African Union
summit on Monday on the eve of celebrations to mark his 40-year rule,
accusing the Jewish state of causing all the woes facing Africa.
Israel is "behind all of Africa's conflicts," Kadhafi told some 30 African
leaders gathered under a huge tent at Tripoli airport for the summit focused
on the continent's trouble spots, including Sudan's Darfur and Somalia.
He demanded the closure of all Israeli embassies across Africa, describing
Israel as a "gang" and saying it uses "the protection of minorities as an
excuse to launch conflicts."
Kadhafi claimed that a Darful rebel group had opened an office in Tel Aviv
while its leader lives under French protection, a reference to Sudan
Liberation Army chief Abdelwahid Mohammed Nur who lives in exile in Paris.
"As African brothers we must find solutions to stop the superpowers who are
pillaging our continent," he said.
Israel has acknowledged operating what it called a forward policy in Africa
between the 1960s and 1980s, intervening in wars from Ethiopia to Uganda and
But the regime of self-proclaimed African "king of kings" Kadhafi has also
been accused of fomenting bloodshed in the 1980s and 1990s across western
Africa and the Sahel.
Persistent and deadly conflicts in Somalia and Sudan top the agenda of the
forum -- the third African Union summit so far this year -- held to mark the
10th anniversary of the 53-member pan-African organisation.
"We'll try to focus on all conflict situations... We believe that we can
move forward in terms of peace and discussions," the AU's Peace and Security
Council chief Ramtane Lamamra said, singling out Somalia.
Thirty leaders attended the opening session but several others expected to
be present stayed away, including South African President Jacob
outspoken Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
Among those present were Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir, who is facing an
warrant for alleged war crimes in Darfur, and Robert Mugabe of
The summit comes on the eve of a gala celebration to mark the 40th
anniversary of Kadhafi's coming to power, when as a young colonel of 27 he
led a bloodless coup overthrowing the Western-backed regime of King Idriss.
The summit will examine ways to "further support the Somali transitional
government, in particular by reinforcing its institutions and by improving
security in the country," a summit document said.
Hardline Islamist rebels launched a sweeping onslaught in Mogadishu in May
against the government of President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, reducing his reach
to just a handful of areas with the backing of AU peacekeepers.
African Union chief Jean Ping told reporters that Sierre Leone, Malawi and
Nigeria had agreed to reinforce the AU peacekeeping force in Somalia
(AMISOM), but gave no further details.
Focus will also fall on war-ravaged Darfur and the AU's joint peacekeeping
force with the United Nations, which has been plagued by funding and
"The need to reinforce security (in Darfur) is paramount," the summit
Some 300,000 people have died in the six-year conflict with 2.7 million left
homeless, according to the United Nations. Sudan's government puts the death
toll at 10,000.
African leaders are also expected to endorse a common stance on climate
change, seeking billions of dollars in compensation from industrialised
An African minister told AFP the summit was being held because "the Libyans
want to guarantee a high level of representation at the festivities" for the
The celebrations come as Libya fends off angry reactions for giving a hero's
welcome to convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi after
his release from a Scottish prison last month on compassionate grounds.
Libya ignored US warnings that any public celebration would damage relations
that have been improving since Tripoli renounced terrorism and its pursuit
of weapons of mass destruction in 2003.
Since then Kadhafi has enjoyed improved ties with the West and growing
influence in Africa after years of pariah status.
----[This List to be used for Eritrea Related News Only]----