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Sunday, 9 July, 2000, 00:35 GMT 01:35 UK
Gaddafi's warm reception
Gadaffi is putting up most of the money for the summit
Gadaffi enjoyed the warm welcome from the crowd
By Barnaby Phillips in Lome

Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi has completed his overland trip across West Africa for the annual Organisation of African Unity summit meeting.

He arrived to a tumultuous reception in the Togolese capital, Lome.

The Libyans are providing much of the funding for the OAU summit and their leader has brought an enormous delegation with him.

Thousands of excited Togolese lined the streets of Lome, holding placards bearing Colonel Gaddafi's face and singing songs in his honour.

The colonel, riding at the front of his bus, waved at the crowds and appeared to be enjoying himself enormously.

Banners out

Banners carrying some of his thoughts on the fight against imperialism and the need for greater African unity are prominent throughout the city.

The Libyan delegation is reputed to number more than 1,000 people.

They have taken over the largest hotel in this small city, presenting the Togolese authorities with something of an accommodation crisis, as other delegates arrive from across the continent.

Muslim youths rushing to greet the Libyan leader said they admired him because he had resisted the West and stood up for Islam.

Togolese President Gnassingbe Eyadema gave him a warm embrace as he stepped down from his bus.

Without Libyan funding, Togo, which is in the midst of a grave economic crisis, would have been hard-pressed to hold this summit.

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See also:

02 May 00 | Middle East
Libya: From pariah to participant
01 May 00 | Middle East
Libya attacks US ban decision
12 Jul 99 | From Our Own Correspondent
On the trail of Colonel Gaddafi
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