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Gaddafi hits out at EU as talks open

Monday November 29 2010

TRIPOLI, Monday

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi declared open an Africa-EU summit today, saying the partnership between the two continents had failed and slamming bodies like the World Trade Organisation as “terrorists”.

“We have failed in our economic partnership with Europe,” Gaddafi told leaders of 80 nations gathered for the two-day summit, which faces fractious issues such as trade and migration.

Opening the first talks in three years between the two continents’ leaders, Gaddafi reopened old wounds between former colonial powers and nations marking half a century of independence, saying accords struck in 2007 “had no effect, they remained on paper.”

“We want win-win relations based on mutual interest and not on exploitation,” Gaddafi said.

Gaddafi also reiterated a request to the European Union for “at least” five billion euros to stem the flow of millions of migrants flooding into a Tripoli bottleneck.

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The summit is due to seal 2007 pledges made by the 27-nation EU and the 53 African nations to turn a page on the burden of history by joining in a partnership of equals that ends decades of donor-recipient ties.

“Europe talks to us of governance, human rights,” Gaddafi said. “We focused on politics and left aside the economy. Africa needs economics, not politics.”

The harsh words came as Africa’s leadership squares up for a fight with the EU on trade following almost a decade of failed efforts to strike Economic Partnership Agreements deemed as unfair by the Africans.

While the bloc remains Africa’s top trading partner, emerging giants such as Brazil and India are joining China in chasing the spoils of the resource-rich continent. (AFP)