Page last updated at 16:39 GMT, Wednesday, 15 April 2009 17:39 UK

Gaddafi outlines African vision

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in Tripoli on 15 April 2009
Col Gaddafi envisages a single African military, currency and passport

Libyan leader and current African Union chairman Muammar Gaddafi has spelled out his plans to create a United States of Africa.

At an AU Executive Council session in Tripoli, he called on the continent to speed up the integration process.

His vision of a pan-African government was at the heart of disputes at February's AU summit in Ethiopia.

He said an African Union Authority would replace all other organs and be run by three co-ordinators.

The BBC's Rana Jawad in Tripoli says the establishment of an AU Authority is meant to be the starting point for the envisioned United States of Africa.

More than 60 AU ministers and delegates gathered for a one-day meeting in the Libyan capital to hear Col Gaddafi outline in detail for the first time how his plan would work.

He proposed:

• The current AU Executive Council appoint a head secretary to be in charge of the continent's foreign affairs

• The AU's economic development programme, the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad), would oversee foreign trade

• The head of the AU's Peace and Security Council would run the continent's defence matters

Col Gaddafi envisages a single African military force, a single currency and a single passport for Africans to move freely around the continent.

Some officials, particularly from countries more favourable towards Libya have expressed a positive outlook towards the plan, while admitting it will take some time to implement.

But many will privately express deep concern over issues like state sovereignty, says our correspondent.

And others feel the divisions across the continent over the matter are simply too deep to overcome at this time, she adds.

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