Annan Asks African Leaders to End Regional Conflicts, Work Together on Continent’s Problems
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 37th summit of the Organization of African Unity, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan "urged" African leaders to halt Africa's "persistent" conflicts and build a "common future," the Xinhua News Agency reports. Annan said that the conflicts, which many on the continent "deemed as unavoidable," were "caused by human action" and can be "ended by human action too" (Xinhua News Agency, 7/9). Annan also said that AIDS was undermining the continent's growth, adding, "This disease is all around us. Within our community, our families, our houses, and it will defeat our best efforts at peace and development unless we defeat it first" (Newsday, 7/10). At the summit, the OAU is expected to "transform" into the "more integrated" African Union, a "pan-African" body modeled after the European Union that would have an assembly, an executive council and a central bank. The 35 heads of state will also elect a new OAU secretary general to oversee the group's transition period through May 2002. Another topic that will be addressed is the region's "mountainous" debt burden (Xinhua News Agency, 7/9).
Arap Moi Calls for Joint HIV/AIDS Initiatives
Speaking at a "working breakfast" meeting with other heads of state, Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi "called on" African leaders to develop and implement joint initiatives for fighting the continent's HIV/AIDS pandemic. Because HIV/AIDS knows "no regional boundaries," the need for such regional anti-AIDS efforts are "urgent," he said. Annan, who was attending the breakfast, "pledged logistical and strategic support" from the United Nations. Those attending the meeting, including Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and Botswanan President Festus Mogae, agreed that Africa, as the "worst hit" region, "must be involved in all the decision-making bodies" relating to the global AIDS fund and asked all African nations to contribute to the fund "according to individual ability" (BBC Monitoring/KBC Radio, 7/9).