UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
COMORO ISLANDS: OAU observers leave
JOHANNESBURG, 31 May (IRIN) - The Organisation for African Unity (OAU) this weekend withdrew its military observers from the Comoro Islands because it did not want to work with the military government.
Diplomatic sources in the capital Moroni told IRIN on Monday that the withdrawal was part of the OAU's condemnation of the military coup on 30 April, which brought Colonel Azali Assoumani to power.
"The OAU has decided that it was not going to work with the military government," the source said. But he added that the civilian component of the OAU mission had remained to observe developments and attempt o continue dialogue with the military government.
Observers from Egypt, Niger, Senegal and Tunisia were sent to the Indian Ocean islands in December 1997 to help ease tensions after a declaration of independence by the island of Anjouan. The OAU had helped to mediate an agreement in the archipelago which offered each island some kind of broad autonomy under a national government.
The agreement which was signed on 23 April this year in Madagascar had outlined the establishment of an interim government that would rule until the next elections.
The Associated Press quoted the OAU representative, Mahmoud Kane as saying: "The agreement decided to put in place an interim government led by a prime minister. We were about to do that when the coup happened."
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Copyright (c) UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 1999
Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D
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