TRIPOLI, June 19 (AFP) – African Union officials agreed to consider a proposal by Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi to create an African passport to allow freer movement on the continent, the AU said Sunday in a statement.
Kadhafi called on AU countries to « remove obstacles » to travel by citizens of African countries by « creating a single African passport and an African identity card », at the opening Friday of a meeting of interior ministers from the 53 African Union countries.
« Let the African citizen exercise his freedom and remove all obstacles in front of him, » Kadhafi said.
« Our era imposes this on us. If we don’t do it we will be isolated, they will re-establish slavery (in Africa) and colonise us all over again, » the Libyan leader said.
According to a statement received by AFP after the close of the ministerial meeting, they « accepted the idea of creating an African passport and will begin consultations ».
The ministers’ recommendations will be submitted to African Union heads of state during a summit in Syrte, east of Tripoli, on July 4-5.
The interior ministers gathered in Tripoli in advance of the July summit « to gradually facilitate bilateral and continental freedom of movement while taking account of social, economic, security and human rights dimensions », the statement said.
Ministers also discussed illegal immigration, the process of visa-granting and how to simplify procedures for allocating visas in AU countries.