African leaders are from Monday expected to focus much attention on Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi's grandiose proposal for continental union, during their 36th Organization of African Unity (OAU) summit in Lome.
Kadhadi stole the limelight when he drove into the Togolese capital on Saturday heading a caravan of 200 all-terrain vehicles, with two aircraft flying overhead, to be hailed by throngs on Lome streets.
Giant pictures of Libya's leader, without whom summit host President Gnassingbe Eyadema would have been hard pressed to finance the gathering, have been plastered across the west African Atlantic coast city.
Kadhafi's own delegation to the gathering of the 53-member organization has completely taken over one of Lome's biggest hotels.
His scheme, put to fellow OAU leaders at an extraordinary summit held last September in Syrte, Libya, would eventually mean the disappearance of the sovereignty of states and indeed of today's pan-African organization.
Heads of state and government present in Syrte did agree to constitute an "African Union" as of this year. Discussion about the formalities may well sideline issues such as AIDS, debt and the regional conflicts ablaze on the continent.
The plan, however, encountered resistance when foreign ministers met on Friday and Saturday to pave the way for the summit, with the most determined opposition coming from countries such as South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria, sources close to those talks said.
These three nations are the respective leaders of regional economic groupings.
"We shouldn't rush into anything and, above all, this union should not be brought about at the expense of already existing regional organizations," one central African head of state warned.
Foreign ministers were kept up late into the night on Saturday discussing it.
They also considered the imposition of military sanctions against the separatist island of Anjouan in the Indian Ocean republic of Comoros, which is already in trouble with the OAU for last year's military coup in the capital Moroni, but nothing was decided upon, the sources said – LOME (AFP)
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