West African countries want closer union

ADDIS ABABA - A new push by some leaders to build a United States of Africa will be a feature of the next AU summit, which will be held in Ghana's capital, Accra, in July, diplomats said yesterday.

ADDIS ABABA - A new push by some leaders to build a United States of Africa will be a feature of the next AU summit, which will be held in Ghana's capital, Accra, in July, diplomats said yesterday.

Some participants in a two-day AU summit in Addis Ababa said West African countries supported a closer union, but countries in the south were sceptical.

A delegate said President Thabo Mbeki told his peers in a closed-door meeting: "Before you put a roof on a house, you need to build the foundations."

Senegal's President Abdoulaye Wade urged leaders to draw up a constitution for a "government of the union".

Ghana's President John Kufuor, who was elected chairman of the AU after its members rebuffed Sudan, and who will host the Accra meeting, said that African countries had much to gain by forging closer ties.

"Divided we are weak. United, Africa can become one of the world's powers for good." - Sapa-AFP

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