Libya says Mediterranean Union will divide Africa
Libya's leader Muammar Gaddafi has reaffirmed his critical stance towards the Union for the Mediterranean - the brainchild of French President Nicolas Sarkozy - saying it will divide the 53-nation African Union.
"We have good relations with European countries, with the European Union, but I do not accept integration into the Union for the Mediterranean," Colonel Gaddafi said on Monday (4 July), AFP reports.
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Libya's head of state - once isolated by the West - added he did not agree with "cutting up Africa for hypothetical prospects with Europe" referring to a possible split between north African countries and the rest of the African Union.
Muammar Gaddafi was the only leader who refused to attend the launch of the Mediterranean union in Paris in July.
Mr Sarkozy's plan brings together 43 states - the 27-member EU as well as Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Jordan, Lebanon, the Palestinian Authority, Syria, Turkey, Israel, Albania, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Monaco and Mauritania.
The aim is to boost ties between the EU and its southern neighbours. At the moment, it is focussed on six specific projects, including the cleaning up of Mediterranean pollution, the development of maritime and land highways and the setting up of a joint civil protection programme on prevention and response to disasters.
But Muammar Gaddafi, who came to power in 1969 and has become the Arab world's longest serving leader, has labelled the participation of African countries in the Mediterranean project a "violation" of resolutions by the African Union.
In addition, he has accused the EU of wanting to dominate its southern partners, once under European colonial rule.