African Union urges international support, demands Security Council seats

At the summit held just before G-8 meeting leaders of African states are resolute to attract attention of world’s powerful nations. African Union wants two permanent seats on the U.N. Security Council and the international community to fulfill past pledges to help this crisis-wracked continent battle poverty and promote development, according to a draft resolution circulating at a two-day summit ending Tuesday.

The draft is expected to be discussed during the closing session of the fifth African Union summit, which is being held ahead of Wednesday's Group of Eight industrialized nations meeting in Scotland and amid growing international calls for the world's richest nations to do more to help Africa combat poverty, reports the AP.

Some 47 African heads of state have been joined by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Arab League leader Amr Moussa and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the highest-level conference held in Libya since the one-time pariah state returned from the international cold after agreeing to compensate relatives of victims from several bombings linked to Tripoli.

The declaration sends a plea to the G-8 summit, which is being attended by the world's richest nations including the United States, to fulfill past promises made to help Africa end poverty and increase development and investment.

It also said two African countries should be given permanent seats on the Security Council and five non-permanent seats to help carry out comprehensive reforms of the international body.

"The leaders believe that to carry out reforms (in the United Nations), two permanent seats that enjoy all privileges including the right to veto in the Security Council must be given to Africa with five other non-permanent seats," the draft declaration read.

Officials at the conference speaking on condition of anonymity citing political sensitivities have said five countries are vying for the two permanent seats: Egypt, South Africa, Senegal, Angola and Nigeria.

African Union chairperson Olusegun Obasanjo urged rich nations on Monday to send the continent "massive" financial help, saying it was moving from a past of military coups to a future of good governance, says Daily News, Zambia.

But Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, a wealthy force among poor African states, told the African leaders that the solution to Africa's woes was the creation of one pan-continental country, not Western aid that came with strings attached, reports Reuters.

The upcoming G8 summit will tell as early as tommorrow whether the world's richest countries are ready to share political inmfluence with Africa or it all just comes down to performing just one more act of charity.

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