Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine

Reflections on 20th OAU summit

Below we publish some of the salient aspects of the declarations and resolutions that were passed at the just ended Organisation of African Unity (OAU) summit at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Statement on southern Africa

A statement on southern Africa issued in Addis Ababa by the summit meeting of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), rejected colonialism and racist minority domination in southern Africa.

The statement says that alterations to the form of the oppression, such as those seen recently implemented within South Africa, have the single purpose of perpetuating and entrenching minority domination. "Africa will be satisfied with nothing less than majority rule in an independent and united Namibia, and majority rule in a united, democratic and non-racial South Africa", it adds..

The statement says that Africa is committed to resisting and ultimately defeating the efforts to force African countries into any relations with racist South Africa. "We shall resist the economic, political and military pressures which are being used by South Africa and its friends to terrorise, intimidate and blackmail individual African countries and to reduce, still further, their freedom of action" it declares.

The statement further says that the contact which the circumstances forced independent states of southern Africa to maintain with South Africa, cannot and should not be used by others as an excuse for establishing or expanding economic or political contact with the forces of racism in southern Africa.

Declaration on economic situation

The OAU summit adopted a declaration on the critical economic situation in Africa calling for priority in directing resources to the urgent needs in areas of emergency relief and recovery.

At regional level, the declaration says that the heads of state request the Secretary General of the OAU in cooperation with the ECA (Economic Commission for Africa) executive secretary and other relevant international and African inter- governmental organisations, to devise all necessary measures for the promotion of sub-regional and regional cooperation in the above area. At the international level, the declaration says that the main efforts should concentrate on alleviating externally induced constraints which would increase African countries' capability to mobilise more resources for relief and emergency needs of the populations.

On long-term development requirements, the declaration says that the heads of state reaffirm their commitment to the measures and guidelines as spelt out in the Lagos Plan of Action and the Final Act of Lagos.

Onu re-elected Secretary

Dr Peter Onu of Nigeria, interim Secretary General of the OAU, was re- elected to serve at the same post until the 21st OAU summit in 1985. Like in June 1983, the 20th assembly of heads of state and government was not able after 10 rounds of balloting to elect a successor to Mr Edem Kodjo, whose term of office ended last year.

The Malian candidate, Foreign Minister Blondin Beye withdrew his candidature after the seventh round of voting, during which the Gabonese candidate, Mr d'Okwatsegue, was in the lead. Despite this withdrawal, the Gabonese candidate could not obtain election to the post.

The heads of state, who suspended their session after the fifth round for consultations, decided after the 10th round to reappoint Dr Peter Onu to serve another year as Secretary General. Dr Onu, who had held the post of Assistant Secretary General for 10 years, is the longest serving functionary at this post.

Resolution on "Special Fund"

The twentieth session of the OAU summit has adopted a resolution on the establishment of a special fund for Africa.

"The African heads of state and government call upon the international community and the World Bank in collaboration with donors, to initiate action establishing a special fund for Africa as a matter of urgency". The Secretary General of the OAU has been requested to follow up the implementation of this resolution and report to the 21st session of the assembly of heads of state and government.

The summit also agreed to establish a special assistance fund for African countries, victims of drought and famine. The fund shall draw its resources from voluntary contributions from OAU member states as well as all kinds of gifts, donations, subsidies or legacies granted by other countries, public or private, international bodies or otherwise, donor agencies and other individuals, on condition that these gifts from sources other than that of member states shall be in line with the objectives of the OAU and approved by the Council of Ministers. The fund shall have the main objective of promoting self-sufficiency in food in the regions affected by drought and famine.

The resolution called for the holding of a summit session in 1985 to discuss economic matters.

Meeting of Chad Reconciliation Committee

An OAU reconciliation committee on Chad made up of Congo, the neighbouring countries of Chad and those preoccupied with restoring peace and stability to the country was also established in Addis Ababa.

The resolution appealed to all the parties to the Chadian conflict to co- operate closely with the reconciliation committee in order to achieve a durable peace in the interest of the Chadian people. It also urged the current Chairman of the OAU, President Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, to convene immediately a meeting of the reconciliation committee.

The Chad conflict was placed on the agenda of the summit which was addressed by the Chadian Foreign Minister. The two factions within the Transitional Government of National Unity (GUNT) also attended the summit.

Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere, the current chairman of the OAU, declared in Addis Ababa that the Organisation ended its 20th summit with a new and encouraging start towards strengthening Africa's unity. Closing the conference, President Nyerere expressed his confidence that the African leaders' consensus was from now, anxious to guard their unity and to consolidate that unity "through action in unity", despite attempts by enemies to raise new divisions amongst them.

During the four-day meeting, he said, the heads of state and government demonstrated the fundamental unity of Africa. "We refused to let ourselves be divided by internal disputes in Africa, or by differences of ideological approach to political and economic questions".

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