African Union elects Gaddafi as new chairman

February 2nd, 2009 - 11:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Nairobi/Addis Ababa, Feb 2 (DPA) Long-time Libyan leader Moamer Gaddafi was Monday elected new chairman of the African Union (AU) during a summit in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.The 66-year-old immediately vowed to push on with his pet project, the creation of a United States of Africa.

However, Gaddafi admitted that there was much work to be done and that African leaders were nowhere near agreement. Gaddafi and some of his allies believe that only a united Africa can tackle the long-term issues of poverty and disease and make the continent a global powerhouse.

Gaddafi took power in Libya after a coup in 1969, and has for four decades been a controversial figure on the world stage.

He was vilified by the West over his alleged role in terrorist actions, including the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, in which 270 people died when a US airliner was blown up over Scotland.

However, Gaddafi has renewed links with the West, promising to fight terrorism and publicly giving up efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction.

The new AU chairman is seen as an accomplished statesman in Africa, although human rights groups say that he still crushes all opposition in his own country.

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