Annan commends OAU for enhancing co-operation

New York- United Nations (PANA) -- UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has commended the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) for its role as rallying point for closer co-operation among African states during the past 38 years of its existence.
At a meeting of African ambassadors in New York on Thursday to commemorate Africa Day at the UN, Annan said the OAU was not only a rallying point during the liberation struggle, but has also been mobilising the collective will of the continent against war, want and disease.
"Just last month, we saw a clear illustration of the OAU's continuing relevance in the successful convening and outcome of the Abuja Summit on HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and other infectious diseases," Annan added in a speech read by his special adviser on African affairs, Ibrahim Gambari.
But moving ahead, the Secretary General said African leaders are now about to transform the OAU into a deeper African Union, "a bold endeavour which deserves the fullest support from the international community.
" He pointed out that African co-operation will grow stronger as the world increasingly comes to recognise the potential of regional organisations to achieve peace and prosperity for its members.
In his introductory remarks, Gambari said OAU's founding fathers would be very proud that the organisation they had created four nearly decades ago was moving towards the Pan-African dream through the African Union, which comes into force on Saturday.
Gambari said it was up to the present and succeeding generations of Africans to give real substance to the framework of the new African Union.
He said that by working together with partners in the international community, African states can free the continent from external domination and domestic oppression and free the people from war and debilitating diseases.

24 may 2001 18:37:00

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