African summit off-on-off again

The on-again, off-again, African foreign ministers meeting in Libya to complete details for next week's Organization of African Unity summit there was off again as of late July 28.

The summit remains in doubt because of the dispute over whether anti-Moroccan Polisario guerrillas should be allowed to attend the summit as OAU members. Morocco is waging a campaign to keep them out. (Polisario opposes Morocco's annexation of the former Spanish territory of Western Sahara.)

So far, Morocco has managed to prevent a two-thirds quorum of OAU members from assembling if Polisario representatives look as though they will take seats.

On this route, the Moroccans succeeded in blocking July 26, 27, and 28 scheduled meetings of OAU foreign ministers to discuss the summit agenda.

Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, determined to keep the summit on its Aug. 5 schedule, came up with a compromise for the foreign ministers July 28.

An informal meeting of foreign ministers convened in a Tripoli hotel away from the summit conference center, on the understanding that a decision would not be forced on the quorum question if the discussions remained informal.

But ministers have not fully agreed to compromise and the meeting will have to be declared formal if it considers the summit agenda.

And Polisario representatives are still insisting that, whatever happens, they will turn up at the summit to take the seat accorded them in the OAU by the unilateral decision of the organization's secretary-general last February.

In other words, Colonel Qaddafi still cannot count on having a summit next week over which to preside.

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