OAU settles on summit location

The battered Organization of African Unity finally has scored a success. The group has arranged a meeting place, reports Monitor contributor John Worrall. Twelve African leaders, at a mini-summit here this weekend, have decided to hold the twice-aborted 19th summit in May or June in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia - the historic birthplace of the OAU.

The leaders - including Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia, Shehu Shagari of Nigeria, Col. Denis Sassou-Nguesso of Congo, Milton Obote of Uganda, and Mengistu Haile-Mariam of Ethiopia - did not attempt again to hold the 19th summit in Tripoli, Libya. The last two failed to attract the necessary quorums.

The decision has denied Libya's Muammar Qaddafi a chance at OAU chairmanship. Kenya President Daniel arap Moi will continue as chairman through the Addis Ababa summit. It is not known to whom he will hand the chairmanship for the 20th summit meeting, but presumably it will be the leader of the country that hosts it - possibly Guinea.

Although the weekend meeting solved the dispute over location, it dodged the main issues that have bedeviled the OAU for eight months and brought it to near collapse. Two disputes very likely to arise again are the admission of the Polisario-backed Saharan Arab Democratic Republic (which scotched Libya's first summit attempt) and a conflict over whether Chad's current leader or its ousted president should represent that country (which ruined Libya's second summit attempt).

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