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01/09/09

Le Mali en ligne – NEWS

Tripoli, Libya – African leaders who gathered in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, Monday, for a special summit on the resolution of conflicts plaguing the continent, have appealed to Ethiopia to proceed with the demarcation of its border with Eritrea to end one of the longest-running border rows in Africa.

The Special Summit of the African Union (AU) Heads of State and Government Assembly, holding here ahead of Tuesday’s 40th anniversary celebrations of the Libyan Revolution, also expressed concern over the failure of the Ugandan rebel group, the Lords Resistance Army (LRA), to sign a peace deal with the government.

Speaking at the opening of the summit, AU Chairman Muammar Kadhafi warned that the border crisis between Eritrea and Ethiopia was a time-bomb that the continent needed to tackle, as it had degenerated into an armed conflict and was a threat to regional stability.

Eritrea and Ethiopia had appealed to the AU not to put the border conflict between them on the agenda of the special summit on resolving conflicts in the continent.

But the Libyan leader said the AU had a right to work towards resolving the crisis between the two states.

We have asked Ethiopia to continue to the next step of border demarcation in a peaceful way because this issue may be

a time bomb,’ the Libyan leader said.

AU Commission Chairperson Jean Ping told the meeting the Commission was concerned about the lack of progress on the Eritrean border crisis, as well as the lingering Eritrean-Djibouti border row.

Ethiopia has been calling for negotiations with Eritrea over the border town of Badme, which an international panel led by the UN awarded to Eritrea after the 2000 border conflict.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration, based at the Hague, The Netherlands, ruled mid August 2009 that the Eritreans had to pay more to Ethiopia for the 1998-2000 border fighting, which killed 70,000 people.

Kadhafi said although African states were not obliged to intervene on some conflicts if they were entirely of internal nature, the continent could not afford to stand aside as they deteriorated.

The AU Chairman said although the situation had remained calm, indicating that there was no need for alarm on the conflict, the continued impasse was a time-bomb that needed an immediate resolution.

‘There is a border conflict between Eritrea and Ethiopia. The situation is calm and there is nothing to draw our attentionâ¦but unfortunately, there was an armed conflict between the two countries,’ he said.

African leaders, including Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, are attending the two-day meeting, which has been dedicated to examining the role of the AU in the resolution of the conflicts.

Kadhafi said the foreign interests in Africa was aggravating the conflicts in Africa’s oil and mineral rich states.

The Libyan leader said the Western governments had tried to instigate a similar crisis in Libya, but had failed to find an immediate scapegoat to go to war in Libya over the country’s vast mineral wealth.

He said while African states were struggling under immense poverty as a result of conflicts, the foreign governments were planning in advance of 100 years, on how to use their vast military power to control the oil and mineral wealth in Africa, while pretending to seek for solutions.

‘The foreign intervention to the crises in Africa has aggravated the situation. The developed states are not looking for peace in Africa. They have 100-year plans on how to use their military force to benefit from Africa,’ Kadhafi told fellow African leaders.