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Published 23rd July 1999

Vol 40 No 15

Tougher talk

Africa's big three – Algeria, Nigeria and South Africa – focused the summit on peace talks and ending military rule

For once, the Organisation of African Unity caught the mood of the continent, balanced uneasily between hope and despair. Hope that, after shaky ceasefire agreements in Congo-Kinshasa and Sierra Leone, the Algiers OAU summit (12-16 July) might progress towards resolving the conflicts ripping through over one-fifth of Africa's 53 states. Despair that good intentions are far from realisation, as economic weakness persists and old conflicts linger on in Angola and Sudan. Yet by the standards of summits in general and OAU summits in particular, it was constructive.

Alger l'Africaine

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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President Bouteflika's hosting of the OAU summit revived his diplomatic networks

It was a spectacular relaunch for Algeria's foreign policy. Over 2,000 African diplomats and 44 heads of state and government arrived in a freshly painted Algiers for the Organisat...

Totally elfin

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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The company which dominated many African economies may soon be transformed

For many years, the oil company Elf Aquitaine provided the motive, and the excuse, for French policies in Africa. It was founded by President Charles de Gaulle during decolonisatio...

Power cuts

Ambitious rivals cut the President down to size while Toumani Touré waits in the wings

President Alpha Oumar Konaré wants to go down in history. Prime Minister Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta wants to succeed him as President. Both are in danger of being disappoin...

Micro-state struggles

As the succession heats up, another head of state seeks to amend the constitution

The contest to succeed Prime Minister Carlos Veiga is heating up. The ailing Veiga (he is said to have diabetes and regularly visits his doctors in Portugal) announced in April tha...


Robbing Peter...

Britain's Labour government has been roundly abused by some African governments for announcing the sale of 250 tons of unwanted gold. Other governments, especially Russia's, have b...

Tripoli calling

Brother Leader Colonel Moammar el Gadaffi's return to the African diplomatic circuit was a high point of the July Organisation of African Unity summit in Algiers. His entourage of ...

Arranged marriages

A growing flirtation with the Umma Party is one sign of the National Islamic Front's continuing charm offensive. At our press-time, NIF leader Hassan el Turabi and Umma chief El Sa...