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General News of Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Source: GNA

Union Government of Africa: Only by name?

AU summit ends without agreement on government timetable

Accra, July 4, GNA - The two-day grand debate on the proposed Pan-African Government by African political leaders ended deep into the night on Tuesday without a decision as to the nature and timeframe.

The leaders, instead, by a unanimously declaration, agreed to set up a Ministerial Committee to identify among other things, the contents of the Union Government concept and its relations with national Governments.

It would also examine the domains of competence and impact of its establishment on the sovereignty of member states and the elaboration of a road map and timeframe.

The Committee has the added responsibility of defining the relationship between the Union Government and the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and to look at ways of getting additional sources of financing the activities of the continental Government.

The outcome of its studies would be submitted to a Committee of Heads of State and Government, which in turn, would make appropriate recommendations to the next ordinary session of the African Union (AU) to be held in the Ethiopian Capital, Addis Ababa, in January 2008. President John Agyekum Kufuor, who is the Chairman of the Union, said there were neither winners nor losers of the debate, characterised by tolerance and mutual respect and conducted in a frank, forthright and serious manner.

It was not about winners or losers but the rededication of "ourselves to the building of a Union Government" and the common vision and principle for its realisation.

He said they were determined to build the necessary synergy to unite Africa and fight the unacceptable level of poverty among its peoples.

Africa's political integration was not going to be modelled after that of the United States of America (USA) or the European Union. It would be something to suit the unique attributes of the Continent.

He said the leaders on account of the shared vision of a united and vibrant continental union resolved to inject new dynamism, re-energise and bring a new momentum to the AU. Consequently, the capacity of the AU and its organs are to be strengthened.

President Kufuor stressed the need for the rationalization and harmonisation of the RECs to lead an African Common Market through the stages of the treaty establishing the African Economic Commission. He said the leaders recognised the importance of involving peoples of Africa including the Diaspora in the processes leading to the formation of the continental Government.

The Ninth Accra Summit of the AU attended by 52 Heads of State and Government was devoted to the single agenda of discussing the future of the Union.

That there was total endorsement of the proposed Union Government was not in doubt, the devil however, was in the nature and speed. While some of the leaders were eager to see immediate political integration others favoured a gradual approach.

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