Calls for a Decision on Union Government

Senegalese Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Cheikh Tidiane Gadio, declared here Tuesday that his country would wish that African leaders should come clear about the formation of an African federal government when they meet at the summit of the African Union (AU) slated for February in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Gadio noted that all African countries had expressed their agreement on the formation of a federal government since the July 2007 summit in Accra, Ghana, PANA reports. ‘Since everybody agrees on the establishment of the union’s government, it has to be implemented,’ Gadio said, noting that it would be desirable to establish the continental executive instrument in total unity ‘so that every body could move towards this crucial step in the African integration’.

In an interview with PANA following the consultative meeting of foreign ministers of the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD) on the issue, Gadio declared that Senegal had identified two perspectives for the formation of a continental government. He said ‘The first, which is better, is that Africa goes in unison to establish a federal government which could start with nine ministries. ‘When people realise that this works efficiently and that it benefits Africa, they will accept 14 ministries, then 20, and so on.’

On the second perspective, he said the most important thing, for supporters of the federal government, was to begin the implementation of the executive instrument, explaining that is was unacceptable that some countries were still indecisive about it. ‘We will not spend one century setting up commissions,’ he stressed, adding that ‘it is high time we moved towards the African federal government and we hope the report of the African Union Commission (AUC) on the issue will be given serious consideration and that the February 2009 summit in Addis Ababa will decide on the setting up of this government within the next six months before the following summit in July,’ he said.

The Senegalese minister said the coming summit would be an opportunity to determine the nature of the structure of the government, including the number of portfolios and the field of competence as well and the head of the government, his/her deputy, and eight/nine ministers in charge of specific continental matters. Gadio stressed that this had nothing to do with the sovereignty of states, saying that there would be three levels, national governments, regional organisations and the continental government. ‘Countries can choose to entrust to the continental government some missions, which will be better managed and more successful at continental level and there is the difference, ’he declared.

He expressed hope that all African countries would come to the Addis Ababa summit with the same determination as Senegal, Libya, Gabon, Mali, Togo and Benin, which are all supporting the formation of the African federal government, and noted that 20 countries were ready to immediately move towards its establishment.

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