African Leaders Endorse Declaration On African Union

SIRTE Libya (PANA) Forty--four African leaders Thursday decided they had little choice but to form a continental union to face the challenges of globalisation and development.
They made this known in a document christened the Sirte Declaration at the end of the 4th extraordinary summit of the Organisation of African Unity held in Sirte, 450 km east of Tripoli.
The leaders, made up of 41 presidents, a king and two prime ministers, said they were committed to the setting up of the African Union in conformity with the ultimate objectives of the OAU charter and the provisions of the treaty establishing the African Economic Community.
Speeding up the process of implementing the treaty establishing the community in order to shorten its periods of implementation was seen by the leaders as one way of moving closer to the envisaged union.
The leaders said they would ensure the speedy setting up of all institutions provided for in the Abuja treaty.
These include the African central bank, monetary union, court of justice and parliament.
"We aim to establish that parliament by the year 2000 to provide a common platform for our peoples and their grass-root organisations to be more involved in discussions and decision making on the problems and challenges facing our continent," the leaders said.
They added that they would strengthen and consolidate Africa's regional economic communities as the pillars for achieving the objectives of the African Economic Community and realising the envisaged union.
They mandated the OAU council of ministers to take the necessary measures to ensure the implementation of the decisions and, in particular, to prepare a constitutive legal text of the union, taking into account OAU charter and the treaty establishing the African economic Community.
Member states have been encouraged to involve the participation of parliamentarians in that process.
To monitor the process, the leaders said, the council should submit its report on the directives to the 2000 OAU summit for action.
"Member states should work towards finalising the process of ratification, where appropriate, by December 2000, in order for a constitutive act to be solemnly adopted in the year 2001 at an extraordinary summit to be convened in Sirte," they added.
The current OAU chair, Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, and Thabo Mbeki, the South African president, along with the OAU contact group on Africa's external debt, have been mandated to work towards the cancellation of Africa's debt as a matter of urgency.
The leaders also directed ministers to hold a conference on security, stability, development and co-operation as soon as possible.
As a matter of priority, the OAU secretary-general, Salim Ahmed Salim, has been requested to take all appropriate measures to follow up implementation of these decisions.

10 september 1999 09:29:00

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