OAU Tells Anjouan Separatists To Sign Peace Accord

MORONI- Comoros (PANA) -- The OAU has asked Anjouan separatists to sign the Antananarivo agreement before the organisation's summit scheduled in Lome, Togo, from 10 to 12 July, former speaker of parliament, Abdallah Halifa, has said.
"The results obtained by the OAU mission which has just visited Comoros are, in my view, extremely positive in the sense that they have succeeded in bringing together the pro-government 'National Salvation Co-ordination' (CSN), and the signatories of the 8 June manifesto, composed mainly of opposition parties", he told PANA in Moroni Monday.
Halifa played a central role in the preparation of the manifesto those key Comoran politicians signed to end the stand-off.
He said that the idea of bringing together representatives of the political parties was in itself a "giant step towards the search for consensus".
The OAU special envoy, Francisco Madeira, organised the meeting of Comoran politicians at the Moroni town hall on 30 June.
The gathering included both the opposition parties who were signatories to the manifesto and those affiliated to the CSN, who did not endorse it.
According to a communiqué published at the end of the meeting by the OAU liaison office, both the opposition and the government said they were ready "to pursue talks with a view to finding ways and means of ending the Comoran crisis".
"The OAU seized this opportunity to again brief the Comoran parties about its objectives in Comoros", Halifa said.
At the end of its meeting, last March, the OAU Council of Ministers recommended a return to the 1996 constitution, taking into account the Antananarivo agreement which assigned honorary functions to the office of president.
Under the provision, the President of the Republic will hand over the exercise of executive power to a Prime Minister accepted by all, while the army will be assigned a specific role to play during the transition period.
The signatories of the manifesto said they would have preferred a situation in which the army was represented at the meeting of the politicians since, in their view, the CSN could not speak for the soldiers who hold real power in Comoros.
The opposition proposed the formation of an Antananarivo Agreement follow-up committee, in accordance with the recommendation of the April 1999 inter-island conference as well as a transitional government.
This provides for a Prime Minister to lead a government team under the authority of a Supreme Security Council, co-presided by the commander of OAU forces and that of the Comoran Army.
The Council would also be responsible for the implementation of a "strategy of neutralising the Anjouan separatists".
The opposition has, moreover, reaffirmed its determination to stabilise relations with France, stressing the need for tripartite talks grouping Moroni, Mayotte and Paris.
For their part, the supporters of military rule said they were ready for open negotiation, provided the opposition drops moves to "destabilise" Col.
Assoumani Azali, who seized power on the island on 30 April 1999.
The head of the Moroni junta "represents the only guarantee for peace and security in Comoros", CSN spokesman Abdou Issa said.

04 july 2000 08:34:00

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