The Gaddafi-Arroyo ‘Meeting’ (51 Foreign Trips And Counting)
That special African Union conference in Tripoli has ended with Libyan leader Moammar Khaddafy using it mainly as hook for his 40th anniversary as strongman, with only three notable non-African guests holding in-and-out meetings with Khaddafy: Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi (a certified womanizer), President George Abela of Malta, and our own President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
The US publication News Day has a brief report about the African Union conference, but no mention of Pres. Arroyo:
In the lead-up to the events, Col Gaddafi has sought to burnish his reputation on the international stage but with mixed results. Dozens of Western leaders were invited to the no expense spared celebrations in Tripoli but only President George Abela of Malta and his wife Margaret are attending.
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi paid a flying visit on Sunday at which the two men laid a flagstone for an ambitious project to build a highway across the top of Africa.
The highway event was staged against a huge photographic backdrop of Mr Berlusconi shaking hands with Col Gaddafi as the two countries signed a treaty of friendship settling aside all past disputes inherited from the days when Libya was an Italian colony last year. An aerobatic team of the Italian airforce screeched overhead leaving green vapour trails – Libya’s national colour – in a salute to Italy’s former North African colony.
The Chinese news agency Xinxua’s own dispatch also has no mention of Pres. Arroyo but recapped what the Africam Union meeting focused on:
A special summit of the African Union (AU) on resolution of conflicts in Africa said on Monday that the state of war in the restive western Sudanese region of Darfur was over.
The Tripoli Declaration issued at the end of the summit indicated that only criminal acts of some outlaws were taking place in Darfur at the present time, according to a report of the state-run SUNA news agency.
The declaration called for intensifying efforts to push ahead the political peace process in Darfur toward reaching stability and peace.
It appreciated the efforts of the joint representative of the United Nations and the African Union for Darfur, Rodolphe Adada, in reaching a comprehensive settlement in Darfur.
The conflict in Darfur ignited in 2003 when ethnic rebels took up arms against Sudanese forces. The war has left around 300,000 dead and 2.7 million displaced, according to UN figures. Khartoum insisted that only 10,000 died in the conflict.
The declaration reiterated the African leaders’ refusal to deal with the International Criminal Court (ICC), which issued an arrest warrant against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in March this year.
Affirming the importance of rehabilitation of the conflict-hit areas in Africa, the declaration announced that the year 2010 would be dedicated to peace and security on the world’s poorest continent.
The Tripoli Declaration also asserted the African leaders’ rejection to the unconstitutional changes of governments in Africa, and pledged to adopt preventive measures to combat this phenomenon.
To be fair, the Philippine objective in Mrs. Arroyo’s trip to Tripoli was cleaely spelled out in her departure remarks the other day:
The East African monsoon is almost over and we can expect a surge in pirate attacks off the coast of Somalia.
We are vigorously working to protect our seafarers and this is an issue where Africa’s collective efforts to bring stability and order to the affected areas will be crucial.
Africa is increasingly important to the Philippines. The peace and stability of Africa directly impact on our energy security, but more importantly, on the safely and welfare of many of our overseas Filipinos, including our seafarers.
I just hope something genuinely substantial comes out of Tripoli visit as against the moneys again spent for it.
Let’s wait for news about the two other legs of her voyage: Riyadh and London.
By the way, apart from the 5 Cabinets members in ~Mrs. Arroyo party, some 37 other support staff, including security officers, are with her on this her 51st foreign trip, not yet counting her two final stops in Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom.