Wednesday, October 20, 2010

African-Arab Summit: No to Sudan Secession

African-Arab Summit: No to Sudan Secession

19/10/2010 23:06:00

Leader of the Revolution Muammar Gaddafi hosted a meeting with Arab and African leaders called the second Afro-Arab summit in Sirte, Libya, Oct. 10, 2010. The summit practically rejected secession saying if it happen it would undermine the whole continent

The Second Arab-African Summit has practically rejected the potential Sudan secession and underlined the importance of protecting Sudan's territorial integrity, saying the failure to do so would lead to the disintegration of the whole continent.

The Leader of the Revolution Muammar Gaddafi, the Chairman of the second Arab-African summit told the sixty-six heads of state and government that separatist conflicts could spread through Africa like a disease if Sudan decides in a referendum early next year to split into two.

"What is happening in Sudan could become a contagious disease that affects the whole of Africa," Gaddafi said.

"We must recognize that this event is dangerous," he said of the planned January 9 referendum on southern Sudan independence which could see Africa's largest country split in two.

The Leader said "Africa needs foreign investment and stability. With this precedent, investors will be frightened to invest in Africa."

Meanwhile, Sudanese state media quoted President Omar Hassan Al-Beshir accusing southern leaders of a failure to respect the terms of their peace deal and warning of renewed conflict if differences are not settled before the referendum. Leader Gaddafi chaired a session of the Arab-African summit, which is designed to bridge differences between the two regions and encourage Arab investors to put money into African projects.

He urged wealthy Arab nations to invest in Africa, including through joint ventures in large-scale infrastructure projects.

"I will encourage capitalism in Africa and I encourage the Arab nations to invest their money in African nations," Gaddafi said.

Food security and water resources topped the agenda, as the 66 leaders discussed ways to fight poverty in the region as well as joint ventures in dam building and irrigation systems.

The summit's Sirte Declaration underlined the need to "respect Sudanese sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence".

In the declaration, African and Arab leaders affirmed their "complete rejection of any attempt to undermine its (Sudan's) sovereignty, unity, security or stability."

"The importance of completing negotiations on questions pertaining to issues in post-referendum south Sudan" is also underlined in the draft.

According to the document, the leaders also "reject resolutions by the International Criminal Court against the Sudanese president."

Most of Africa's borders are arbitrary, resulting from colonies carved out by European empire-builders that often divided tribal or linguistic groups between one or more territories. Any effort to change that could lead to a radical redrawing of the continent's maps.

Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade proposed on Sunday that a delegation of five African and Arab heads of state travel to Sudan in a bid to defuse tensions there, Bashir advisor Mustapha Othman Ismail said.

For his part, the chairman of the African Union Commission, Jean Ping, told the summit that the "referendum for both southern Sudan and the Abyei region in 2011 continues to be a source of concern, given the complexity of pre- and post-referendum issues which need to be resolved".

President of Algeria Abdelaziz Bouteflika stressed the importance to speed up Africa's regional integration so as to meet the development challenges and warned of separatist actions in the continent. "each of our African countries is conscious that the new international context present opportunities but also a major cause of instability.

It's therefore important to speed up the regional integration, the only way that will help meet the development challenges," Bouteflika said in Sirte summit.

Arab League chief Amr Moussa voiced concerns about "the referendum's impact on security and stability on a large region of Africa and the Middle East".

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