ADDIS ABABA, Jan. 31 (Xinhua) -- Invited to the 22nd African Union (AU) summit being held in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, Haiti's Prime Minister Laurent Salvador Lamothe has appealed for his country's admission into the pan-African organization.
At the opening ceremony of the two-day summit, Lamothe made the appeal on Thursday, citing close blood links between Haitians and Africans.
"Even though it's situated in the Americas, Haiti still has strong roots in Africa. All the heroes who fought for the country's independence during the 1804 revolution were descendants of African slaves," he told 30 or so African presidents attending the opening ceremony.
The first independent black country in the world, Haiti is also the only independent francophone country in the Caribbean.
"This was possible after a long struggle against slavery and human oppression," Lamothe said, noting that a century and half later, the torch that was lit is still shining across the entire African continent.
Declaring the African continent as "an opportunity for Haiti" and Haiti as "Africa's gateway to the Americas," the guest of African leaders said he was pleased to be the first Haitian government leader to have addressed the AU summit on the ancestral land.
He called for the amendment to the AU Constitutive Act to allow Haiti to become a member of the 54-member bloc.