African Leaders Open

OUAGADOUGOU- Burkina Faso (PANA) -- The 34th summit of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) opened Monday with speakers hammering on the need for a peaceful resolution of the ongoing border conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea.
Various speakers at the opening of the three-day meeting expressed concern over the escalation of the conflict and called for cessation of hostilities.
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, the out-going OAU chairman, called on Ethiopia and Eritrea to cease hostilities and seek a peaceful resolution of the crisis.
He said it was regrettable that the dispute flared when the facilitators were on the verge of achieving a breakthrough.
He said it was pertinent for the two countries to stop the use of force.
Mugabe noted that since the 1997 OAU summit in Harare, efforts to resolve the persistent crises and conflicts bedevilling Africa had met with mixed results.
"Positive results were achieved in some, progress towards possible solutions in others seems to be discernible, while in yet other cases, durable solutions have proved hard to achieve," he said.
He explained that the OAU and other subregional organisations "were kept busy taking initiatives and committing resources to the restoration of peace, order and stability, and in defence of our cherished goals and principles.
" Listing the flash points to include Burundi, the Comoros, Rwanda and the Great Lakes region, as well as Angola, Western Sahara and Sierra Leone, Mugabe called for an intensification of efforts to promote peaceful co-existence on the continent, plagued by external debt burden.
The Zimbabwean leader congratulated the Economic Community of West African States for helping to restore peace in Liberia and democratic rule in Sierra Leone.
He, however, regretted the difficulties facing the OAU's committee on Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution, which failed to meet recently at summit level because of lack of quorum.
Mugabe said "our summit in Ouagadougou will break new ground in the discussion of further ideas and necessary actions to achieve further democratisation, peace and prosperity in Africa.

08 june 1998 09:29:00

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