BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Africa
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-------------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-------------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 
Friday, 14 April, 2000, 14:14 GMT 15:14 UK
Libyan bid to link Mid-East and Africa
Tripoli skyline
Delegates from nearly 70 countries are in Tripoli for the gathering
By Frank Gardner in Tripoli

Libya is hosting the first international conference for Arab and African non-governmental organisations.

Delegates from nearly 70 countries have arrived in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, for the three-day gathering. Most of the 700 delegates are from Africa.

The lobby of Tripoli's Bab Al-Bahr hotel, where the delegates are staying, is filled with the sound of a hundred tongues and a kaleidoscope of national costumes.

Tall Mauritanian men in flowing cotton robes mingle with sombre-suited Iraqis. Libyans in embroidered waistcoats stroll beside West Africans in dazzling green pyjama suits.

Women too have crossed continents to be here. Some are Arab and demurely veiled. Others are African and draped in elaborate jewellery.


Gaddafi and Mandela
Muammar Gaddafi is playing an increasingly important role in Africa
It is exactly the sort of meeting of delegates from less developed countries that the Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi, is fond of hosting.

But the conference organisers are keen to distance the government's role.

They say this is purely a people's event, aimed at uniting NGOs across the Middle East and Africa.

The event's coordinator, Rafia Al-Madani, told the BBC that delegates would be discussing how to pool their efforts in the fields of education, welfare, youth and human rights.

He said the event's aims were non-political. But he added that it was based on last year's Sirte declaration, which called for African countries to unite.

In recent years, Libya's leader has largely turned his attention away from the Middle East and focused instead on Africa.

The high attendance at this conference shows that interest has been well received by some, even if many delegates here are still unclear as to how much it can actually achieve.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
Africa Contents

Country profiles
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to other Africa stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Africa stories