On 12 July he attended the opening of the thirty-fifth Summit of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in Algiers, attended by over 40 Heads of State and Government. In his speech, the Secretary-General cited a report issued by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the International Chamber of Commerce showing that Africa brought a higher return to United States and Japanese investors than any other region in the world. "Africa's profitability", he commented, "is one of the best kept secrets in today's world economy". He pledged United Nations support for African development, saying that "healthy development is the best long term conflict prevention we know". He praised those African Governments that had taken the tough decisions to liberalize their economies, democratize their governance and strengthen the rule of law. "In short", he concluded, "the overall picture in Africa today is nowhere near as gloomy as it seems to those elsewhere."
During the morning of 12 July, the Secretary-General met with Anthony Lake, Special Adviser to the United States Secretary of State for Ethiopia and Eritrea, and Susan Rice, United States Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs. They discussed the follow-up to the peace agreements on Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and peace efforts in the conflict between Eritrea and Ethiopia. In the afternoon, he met with Egyptian President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak. They discussed African issues such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Ethiopia/Eritrea war, Libyan sanctions and the proposed international conference on terrorism. He also met with Libyan leader, Colonel Muammar Al-Qadhafi.
Later the same afternoon, he attended a closed session at the Heads of States level to discuss conflicts in Africa in an interactive format.
President Abdulaziz Bouteflika of Algeria, elected to succeed President Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso as Chairman of the OAU, hosted a dinner which the Secretary-General attended.
The Secretary-General's first meeting on 13 July was with the Secretary- General of the Commonwealth Secretariat, Chief Emeka Anyaoku.
- 2 - Press Release SG/T/2194 16 July 1999
One of the pressing security concerns being discussed in the margins of the OAU Summit in Algiers was how to stop the war between Eritrea and Ethiopia. The Secretary-General and his Special Envoy in Africa, Mohamed Sahnoun, met first with Ethiopia's Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and then with Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki.
He then met with President Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso. They reviewed the dramatic developments in Africa over the past year -- the return to war in Angola, the ongoing conflict in Somalia, the resolution of the Lockerbie affair between Libya, the United States and the United Kingdom, and the recent peace agreements of Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They also discussed the prospects for peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea.
The Secretary-General then had meetings with the President of Ghana, Jerry Rawlings, and the new President of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki. Both were one-on-one meetings.
In the afternoon of 13 July, his meetings included Major Pierre Buyoya, the President of Burundi; Mohammed Said Al-Sahaf, the Foreign Minister of Iraq; General Denis Sassou Nguesso, the President of Congo (Brazzaville); Mohamed Abdelaziz, the Head of Frente Popular para la Liberacion de Saguia el-Hamra y del Rio de Oro (Frente POLISARIO); and the Foreign Minister of Angola, Joao Bernardo de Miranda. He then held a joint meeting on the Democratic Republic of the Congo involving President Sam Nujoma of Namibia, President Robert G. Mugabe of Zimbabwe, President Laurent-Desire Kabila of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Salim A. Salim, the Secretary-General of the OAU.
On 14 July, the Secretary-General had a breakfast meeting with Salim A. Salim, as part of the routine consultation between the two organizations. They discussed implementation of the peace agreement in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, efforts to end the Eritrea/Ethiopia war, the ongoing conflict in Angola and the peace process in Sierra Leone.
He then met with the President of Rwanda, Pasteur Bizimungu, to review the Democratic Republic of the Congo peace accord, the situation in Rwanda and the functioning of the International Tribunal for Rwanda.
He also saw the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), K. Y. Amoako, and then the President of Togo, General Gnassingbe Eyadema, who briefed him on the Sierra Leone peace agreement which was concluded in Togo last week.
At mid-morning, the Secretary-General left Algiers for Bratislava, to begin an official visit to Slovakia.
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