`` We hope through this historical meeting to change the map (of Africa) designed by the former colonialists.'' Libyan leader Moammar Qadhafi said ,"We should draw our map again on the basis of our own conception and not according to the wishes of the colonial powers"
Qadhafi's call to Africans to redraw their boundaries inherited at independence from the colonial powers of Britain, France, Portugal and Spain was made in a speech in the presence Presidents Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso, Idriss Deby of Chad, Alpha Oumar Konare of Mali and Ibrahim Mainassara Bare of Niger. They arrived in Tripoli August 14 for a mini-summit aimed at reviewing procedures for the creation of a Sahel-Saharan entity for social, economic and political relations.
In a radio and
television broadcast Saturday August 16, Qadhafi urged peoples of the Sahara
and the Sahel who are united by geography and their common destiny, to
pool their efforts, human and material resources and establish a strong
economic power capable of competing with the European Union, the United
States, China, Russia, India, the Dragons of Asia or even with all the
giants that are now ruling the world.
"Africans should no longer be the foxes or rabbits of the jungle. They should also be Lions among lions", he said.
The countries, which share the effects of a hostile dry climate, agreed to work jointly in solving their social and economic problems and build greater political stability and security in the region. The Saharan desert must be covered with roads,'' Qadhafi said in a speech in Tripoli on Saturday night. Such a project would necessitate major investments in roads through the Sahara and his country would open its ports to the four countries giving them access to the Mediterranean.
He said the colonial arrangements were meant solely to serve the post-independence interests of the former metropolis. He added that the colonialists only withdrew from Africa after they had imposed on its peoples foreign cultures intended to serve foreign interests. Qadhafi told them that the populations of the Sahel and Saharan regions of Africa had the same origins and populated by the same Arab race.
The populations of Mali, Burkina, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Sudan, the Horn of Africa and North Africa constitute an extension of the Arab race, he said. They form part of the same Yemenite Arab tribes which immigrated several thousands of years ago to settle in the region between the North African coast and threshold of the African forest zone, he added. Qadhafi said the countries of the Sahel and the Horn of Africa were inhabited by Arab peoples and tribes who immigrated several years ago and united with black Africans through intermarriage. The result, he said, was the emergence of the people with light copper colored skins currently found between the North African coast and the threshold of the African forest zone.
A final communiqué by leaders of the five states present said
that their foreign ministers would meet September for an in-depth review
of the plan.
`` The five heads of states have reached a decision favouring closer
ties between their countries and have instructed their foreign affairs
ministers to discuss practical ways for its implementation,'' said Niger's
Foreign Affairs Minister Ibrahim Assane Mayaki. The foreign ministers of
the five countries will meet next month to discuss mechanisms for such
a grouping ahead of a second summit likely to be held later in September,
Mayaki said. He said Nigeria, whose military ruler Sani Abacha missed the
Tripoli summit due to ill health, would be invited to join the group.