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African Union: a fact file
The Namibian Newspaper ^ | Wednesday, July 10, 2002 - Web posted at 3:43:09 pm GMT | no name given

Posted on 07/10/2002 9:23:25 PM PDT by rwjst4

African Union: a fact file

one and a half cols

DURBAN - The African Union (AU), which comes into being at a summit this week in Durban that marks the demise of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) after 39 years, is loosely modelled on the European Union and embodies a similar aim of continental integration.

It will be an altogether more powerful body than the 53-nation OAU and will start life under the chairmanship of South African President Thabo Mbeki.

The brainchild of Libyan leader Moamer Gaddafi, the AU had a protracted gestation period. Its constitution was signed at an OAU summit in Lome, Togo, in 2000 and come into effect on May 26, 2001, following its formal proclamation at an extraordinary OAU summit in Libya in March the same year.

Even so, the present AU is something of a watered-down version of Gaddafi's initial 1999 proposals, which envisaged a federal union with the grand title of ‘United States of Africa’.

In contrast to the OAU, created in May 1963 to promote unity among newly independent states as the colonial era wound down, the AU will be a more interventionist body.

Where the OAU respected each member country's sovereignty and never interfered in internal affairs, the AU will have a Peace and Security Council authorised to send in a stand-by peacekeeping force drawn from African armies in the event of any conflict involving crimes against humanity.

The AU will also in time have an African parliament and there are plans for a central bank, an African court of justice and, eventually, an African Economic Community with a single currency.

It will be closely linked with Nepad, the New Partnership for Africa's Development, designed to pull Africa out of stagnation by promising good governance and sound economic practices in exchange for increased foreign aid and trade opportunities.

In the short term, the Durban summit will content itself with setting up the four most important of the 17 bodies which will make up the AU, notably the Commission, which will replace the general secretariat as the executive body.

Comprising 10 members, each with specific portfolios and including a president and vice-president, the Commission will have an important role in shaping policy, with outgoing OAU Secretary General Amara Essy, the former Ivory Coast foreign minister, expected to hold the interim presidency for a matter of months.

The other three bodies to come into being at Durban will be the Conference, which groups together heads of state and government and will be inaugurated under the chairmanship of Mbeki, the Executive Council, made up of AU foreign ministers and the Permanent Representative Committee, made up of ambassadors accredited to the former OAU headquarters in Addis Ababa.

Under the OAU the ambassadors' committee was a purely consultative body but it will have considerably extended powers as part of the AU.

Gaddafi has already proposed that the AU headquarters be established in Libya and has reportedly built premises to house it but no decision has yet been taken.

The OAU was widely considered by African heads of state to have outlived its usefulness - since its inception Africa has been wracked by coups d'etat and civil wars, many of horrifying brutality, with 25 presidents and prime ministers losing their lives in revolutions.

The AU will, however, share one point in common with the OAU it replaces - unlike the United Nations, no member has the power of veto. - Nampa-AFP

TOPICS: Foreign Affairs
KEYWORDS: africa; africanunion; africawatch; au; globalgovernment; khaddafi; mbeki; regionalization
Yes, you heard right...

The brainchild of Libyan leader Moamer Gaddafi
1 posted on 07/10/2002 9:23:25 PM PDT by rwjst4
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To: rwjst4
Is this the "King of the South" in Bible prophecy? Food for thought.
2 posted on 07/10/2002 9:40:49 PM PDT by brat
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To: rwjst4
The first order of business should be the assigning of Libya's oil revenues to Zimbabwe. Mugabe can be trusted to use then wisely in staving off famine.
3 posted on 07/10/2002 9:47:46 PM PDT by per loin
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To: *AfricaWatch
4 posted on 07/10/2002 10:03:53 PM PDT by Libertarianize the GOP
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