Special Summit To Chart New Directions For OAU

ADDIS ABABA- Ethiopia (PANA) -- After 35 years of existence, the OAU is expected to chart new directions into the next millennium when African leaders meet next week for a two-day extraordinary summit in Libya's seaport city of Sirte.
In charting fresh guidelines for the activities of the continental body, African leaders are expected to give the necessary guidance to the OAU commission that was established 20 years ago to revise the charter of the organisation, OAU spokesman Ibrahim Dagash told PANA.
He said that the summit would give the commission "a time frame" to complete its task.
The 8-9 September summit would be preceded by a preparatory session of the OAU council of ministers from 6-7 September.
The summit will dwell on the theme: Strengthening OAU Capacity To Enable It Meet The Challenges Of The New Millennium.
Dagash stated that the summit will come out with a declaration that would set "clear directions" regarding the political, economic and social activities of the OAU in the years ahead.
Such directions would "include the principles and time frame" for reviewing the organisation's charter by the commission.
Dagash noted that because the commission had held just six sessions during its 20 years of existence, "it was able to address only 4 articles of the charter it had been mandated to review.
" The charter of the OAU has not been revised since it was signed in Addis Ababa by the founding fathers - 31 heads of state and government - on 25 June, 1963.
Dagash, however, said there had been "certain OAU declarations" that could be considered as additions to the original charter.
He cited them as the Cairo Declaration of 1964 that legitimised the boundaries member states inherited at the time of independence, the 1990 Addis Ababa Declaration that covered "new changes in the world and their impact on Africa" as well as the democratisation process, popular participation and human rights.
Dagash also named the 1991 Abuja Declaration establishing the African Economic Community, the 1993 Cairo Declaration establishing the OAU mechanism for conflict prevention, management and resolution, and the 1999 Algiers Declaration highlighting Africa's priority areas in the new millennium.
He further named the 1979 OAU summit decision that broadened the mandate of its chief executive, renamed secretary-general.
The holder of the post was previously designated as administrative secretary-general, and had "relatively limited mandate.
" One African diplomat noted that the election of the secretary-general by heads of state and government, gives him "direct access to African leaders" for "consultations on pressing problems of the continent before they get worse.

03 september 1999 09:29:00

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