The African Union (AU) holds its 13th
semiannual summit Wednesday in Libya's coastal city, Sirte. Libyan leader
Moammar Gadhafi, who is the current chairman of the continental body,
is hosting the meeting.
The conference theme is "investment in agriculture for
Several African heads of state and governments have reportedly arrived and are ready to participate in today's
the African leadership is trying to do is to recommit themselves to a very
fundamental, very crucial issue on the continent. An issue that affects the bulk
of their citizenry is food security," said Andrew Kanyegirire, communications director of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD).
African heads of state were reportedly boycotting the summit to protest the
leadership of Gadhafi, who has been described as a dictator after coming to power
through a bloodless coup d'état in 1969.
Kanyegirire said there are no clear indications that the leaders were
boycotting the summit because of Gadhafi's leadership.
are things that I have possibly heard in corridors. There is no factual
evidence to say that this particular leader stayed away because of the
leadership of the host country," Kanyegirire said.
said NEPAD encourages solidarity among countries on the continent.
an institution, we feel very strongly about issues to deal with unity and
integration," he said.
Kanyegirire said it is unfortunate there are those who say the time is not ripe
for the AU's agenda for politically integrating the continent.
are some civil society organizations, private sector elements… and even leaders
who feel that maybe this process is going a bit too quickly in terms of
integration," Kanyegirire said.
said that there is unanimity, however, among many African leaders for unity and
think there is continental commitment. The question is time processes and
procedures. There is genuine commitment across the board," he said.
said the African Union frowns upon coups d'etat, adding that the age of
military takeovers are going out of style.