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The transitional government in Somalia has signed the African Union treaty, joining a dozen other countries that have endorsed the plan for the continental union, diplomats in Addis Ababa told AFP Friday.

A total of 41 member states of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) have agreed to the idea of a continental union with a supreme body and an executive council, but only 13 states have ratified the constituent act, signed at an OAU conference in Lome, Togo last July.

The proposal, which has to be ratified by two-thirds of Africa's 53 states, will be at the centre of talks at an OAU summit on March 1-2, in Syrte, Libya.

Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi has long pushed to create a United States of Africa, but has met opposition from African economic powers such as Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya.

Somalia has been without a functioning government since the January 1991 fall of Mohammed Siad Barre.

A transitional government put into place last year is now in Mogadishu but has yet to extend its control beyond a portion of the capital, which, like the rest of Somalia, has been torn by clan rivalries for the last decade.


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