OAU Delegation Arrives In Moroni

MORONI- Comoros (PANA) -- An Organisation of African Unity delegation arrived in Moroni Sunday for discussions relating to the economic embargo imposed by the continental body on the separatist island of Anjouan.
The mission, led by the OAU Secretary General's special envoy, Franciscos Caetano Madeira, a Mozambican diplomat, will meet all political actors, including those who oppose the maintenance of those sanctions whose imposition took effect four months ago.
Several politicians, mainly because of its negative impact on ordinary people, have opposed the embargo.
Abdou Issa, the spokesman of a coalition backing the country's military ruler, Col.
Asoumani Azali, Friday told PANA that "deciding to impose an embargo without the means to enforce it is of no interest to us particularly because Anjouan is slowly becoming the hub of some Mafia groups.
" The embargo has been denounced in Moheli, where the opposition leader, Abbas Djoussouf, told PANA last month that the OAU should lift it as soon as possible before the summit in Lome because it was punishing the population.
An OAU embargo was imposed on Anjouan in March to compel the island's secessionist leaders sign the Antananarivo agreement, which contains a new institutional framework for "Comorian Union".
Anjouan's refusal to sign the agreement had prompted the OAU to threaten to use "all available means" to force compliance.
However, the separatists have still refused to sign the document.
Addressing a news conference last Monday, the French ambassador to the Comoros, Jean-Pierre Lajaunie, called for dialogue between authorities in Moroni and the Anjouan separatists.
The French diplomat recommended "the search for a dynamic solution" instead of OAU current "policy of sanctions.
" He hinted that France was prepared to give its contribution in the search for a solution by offering "guarantees" to negotiations, if it was requested.
The embargo has worsened living conditions for the majority in Anjouan, forcing those who can to migrate from the island.
According to a Radio Comoros report, a group of youths, locally known as "boat people" arrived Saturday in Badamadji Ladoma on Grand Comoro Island.
They said that they fled Anjouan because they could no longer find fuel and rice, the staple food.
They also said that most of the inhabitants supported the signing of the Antananarivo agreement but the separatist leaders were still firmly opposed to it and did not hesitate to imprison pro-Comorian Union activists.

25 june 2000 09:29:00

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