African political parties meet to boost 'unity'
AFP, Saturday 27 Apr 2013
Sudan organizes meeting to unify African parties into a political body that might represents them

Political parties from 35 African nations began meeting in Khartoum on Saturday to create a joint forum that will further unify the continent, Sudanese officials said.

"I suggest this meeting will be one of the basic steps to complete the unity of Africa," Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir told the opening session of the two-day gathering.

He said Africa has not had proportionate representation in international forums despite the continent's history and its population of more than one billion.

Delegates plan to form the first Council of African Political Parties.

"This meeting wants to unite the African political parties. We want to create a political body for all the parties," Nafie Ali Nafie, assistant to Bashir, told reporters.

He said that only parties with representatives in their parliaments were invited.

A delegate from Zambia described the meeting as an "initiative" of Sudan's ruling National Congress Party.

Aisha Abdullahi, Commissioner for Political Affairs at the 54-member African Union, attended the opening ceremony.