Foreign Ministers from all over Africa have been arriving in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, this week to prepare for the special summit of the Organisation of African Unity (O.
Foreign Ministers from all over Africa have been arriving in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, this week to prepare for the special summit of the Organisation of African Unity (O.A.U.) in the city this weekend.
Arrivals on Wednesday (7 January) included the Egyptian Foreign Minister, Mr. Ismael Fahmi, his Algerian counterpart, Mr. Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the Foreign Minister of Tunisia, Mr. Habib Chatti, the Gabonese Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Paul Okumba d'Okwatsegue, and the Niger Minister for Foreign Affairs and Co-operation, Captain Moumouni Djermakoye Adamou.
They were greeted at Addis Ababa's Bole airport by the Ethiopian Foreign Minister, Ato Kifle Wodajo, and the O.A.U. Secretary-General, Mr. William Eteki.
Before beginning their two days of discussion, some of the Ministers spoke to newsmen at the airport about their hopes of finding an early solution. Most seemed agreed that nothing could be achieved unless the three groups currently fighting in Angola -- the Soviet-backed Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (M.P.L.A.), the National Front for the Liberation of Angola (F.N.L.A.) and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) -- lay down their arms to work towards a peaceful settlement.
The Tunisian representative, Mr. Chatti, stressed also the importance of concerted action by the 46 members of the O.A.U.
Diplomatic observers, quoted by Reuters, believe that the Angolan problem is the gravest issue to face the O.A.U. since it was formed in 1963. They say that African leaders fall broadly into two groups: one, possibly the larger, seeking recognition of the Luanda-based government of the M.P.L.A.; the other wanting to see a government of national unity formed by all three fighting factions, M.P.L.A., F.N.L.A. and UNITA. This second group is thought likely to call for a complete end to foreign intervention.
One major factor working against the proposals of the second group is the presence of South African troops within Angola, fighting the M.P.L.A. Diplomatic sources consider that this will make it more difficult for O.A.U. members to support a government of national unity, in case such a move is seen as support for South Africa's actions.
But any fears of a split in the organisation are considered unnecessary. The observers expect the summit this weekend to prove flexible enough to find a compromise solution, probably along the lines of an agreement to recognise the M.P.L.A. government of Dr. Agostinho Neto, on condition that it negotiates with the other two movements.
More than twenty African states have already officially recognised Dr. Neto's administration as Angola's legitimate government.