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Last Updated: Sunday, 16 May, 2004, 02:56 GMT 03:56 UK
Gaddafi urges African solutions
Muammar Gaddafi (left) with his host Malian President Amadou Toumani Toure
Gaddafi has long urged African unity
Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has warned non-African powers not to intervene in the continent's conflicts.

Speaking on Saturday at the start of a summit of the regional grouping Censad, he said crises were being exacerbated by outsiders.

Referring to the conflicts in Ivory Coast and Sudan, he said African solutions must be found.

Both countries are among Censad's 20 member countries - which are meeting in the capital of Mali, Bamako.

The BBC's Lara Pawson at the summit says those who were hoping that Sudanese and Ivorian leaders might come under pressure will be disappointed.

Ivorian crisis

On Ivory Coast the Libyan leader said President Laurent Gbagbo was the victim of "adventurers".

Mr Gaddafi defended Mr Gbagbo as an elected leader who should be allowed to get on with the job of resolving the crisis.

A tribal conflict should not be taken to the UN Security Council
Muammar Gaddafi
The former colonial power, France, has put strong pressure on Mr Gbagbo to approve a power-sharing deal with rebels who have held half of the country since September 2002.

France also sent peacekeepers to monitor a fragile truce - an intervention that many supporters of Mr Gbagbo have resented.

Not all Censad's members were happy with Mr Gaddafi's defence of the Ivorian government.

One delegate told the BBC that Mr Gbagbo was a disgrace to the continent.

Another said that the real aim of the sixth Censad summit was to establish a regional army which Mr Gaddafi could control.

The Libyan leader has long sought to build an all-African army to help create and maintain peace on the continent.

Darfur

On Sudan - where the government has been accused of atrocities in the western Darfur region - Mr Gaddafi was equally dismissive of pressure from the West and the UN.


Mr Gaddafi described the crisis as a "tribal conflict" - the type, he said, which had been occurring in Africa for centuries.

Mr Gaddafi said that Africans would not have known about it if what he called superpowers had not allowed themselves to get involved.

"A tribal conflict should not be taken to the UN Security Council," Mr Gaddafi said of the Darfur crisis.

"If there is a tribal conflict Censad will resolve this problem."

In recent weeks more than a million people have been forced to leave their homes in Darfur, after attacks on villages by government forces.

Khartoum denies abuses are widespread, and says it is fighting an insurgency.




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Kathryn Riddell
"Terrorism and conflicts in Sudan are high on the agenda at this year's summit"



SEE ALSO:
Sudan 'starving Darfur refugees'
07 May 04  |  Africa
UN chides Ivorians over killings
14 May 04  |  Africa
French fears in Ivory Coast
19 Jan 04  |  Africa
Q&A: Ivory Coast's crisis
25 Mar 04  |  Africa


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