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Office of the Spokesman

(Addis Ababa, Ethiopia)
For Immediate Release                                                                          
October 10, 1996


Organization of African Unity
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
October 10, 1996

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: Secretary General Salim, distinguished 
representatives, ladies and gentlemen.  I'm very much honored to be here 
this morning.  I've been an admirer of the OAU and I am particularly an 
admirer of the recent activities that you've undertaken; the new vigor 
and determination that you've shown; the contribution that you've made 
to peace and stability in the African region.  

I think I should tell you that when I was on my way here yesterday from 
Bamako, to my surprise, the pilot of the airplane came back and brought 
a big cake for me, which indicated that I had now established a record 
for the most miles traveled by a Secretary of State during a four year 
term -- 704,000 miles.  That may say something good about my endurance 
and stamina. I'm not sure it says very much about my judgment and 
discipline.  But in any event, as you hear me this morning, I hope 
you'll make allowances for permanent jet lag, now somewhat complicated 
by high altitude.  

It was a pleasure, as I came in this morning, to tour the Conflict 
Management Center that we worked together to create, and I hope that it 
will be a useful organism for the OAU.  It is an important element of a 
broader effort that I want to focus on today.  What the OAU is doing, 
and what we are doing together, to prevent and resolve conflicts, and to 
strengthen Africa's democratic revolution.  

I've come here on behalf of President Clinton and at his particular 
request, to underscore America's commitment to Africa.  We need to work 
in partnership with Africa to meet the global challenges of our time.  
To meet the global challenges, for example, in the fight against nuclear 
proliferation and narcotics, and crime.  To work together to deal with 
the imperative of protecting and improving our environment.  To sum it 
up, we want to help Africa realize its enormous economic potential.  We 
want to work with Africans to avert the conflicts that claim innocent 
lives and thwart your progress toward democracy and prosperity.

In the last four years, the United States has acted on many fronts to 
support democracy across this continent.  We have worked with you to 
resolve conflicts in Angola and Mozambique. We've supported African 
responses to crises in Liberia and Burundi.  Most of those problems 
still with us, unresolved.  We're working on the President's commitment 
to strengthen our trade and economic links to Africa; a commitment that 
was championed so effectively by my late colleague, Ron Brown.  In a 
tight budgetary climate in the United States, we are also working hard 
to maintain the validity of our assistance programs.  

Too often, people outside this region look at Africa's future with an 
exaggerated pessimism. It is certainly true that the nations of Africa 
face daunting problems, but citizens after citizens, and country after 
country, are showing that these problems can be overcome when 
governments answer to their people, open up their economies, and manage 
their resources wisely.  

The winds of change, I'm glad to note, are gathering force all across 
Africa.  More than twenty democracies have begun to emerge just in the 
last seven years.  Of course there have been some incomplete transitions 
and some setbacks.  Some states still deny the aspirations of their 
people.  But, I'm glad and feel strongly that they're swimming against 
the tide of the new democratic change in Africa.

As you well know, many African countries are also acting to reform their 
economies.  This is not an easy process, but it is the only path to 
sustain growth and to find a way to raise living standards.  

All over the world, a critical part of economic reform is overcoming 
corruption.  I'm heartened by the new priority that African democracies, 
from Benin to South Africa are giving to fighting corruption.  Two years 
ago in Pretoria, many African governments agreed that the OAU should 
work with the OECD, which is taking steps to criminalize elicit payments 
of companies abroad.  I hope that cooperation in this area can go 
forward.  I also believe that the OAU should consider a continent-wide 
convention against corruption, perhaps one similar to that recently 
adopted by the Organization of American States.  

The effects and the efforts to build democracy and promote development 
are underway on this continent, but they will not succeed until we have 
secured the peace on this continent.  Here in Ethiopia, for example, 
only with the end of the war could comprehensive steps be taken to stave 
off drought and famine.  Across Africa, conflict is increasingly seen 
for what it is -- an endless drain of lives and resources that squanders 
opportunities for growth and prosperity.

The very best strategy for preventing conflict is to promote democracy.  
This is because democracy can ensure that Africa's internal disputes are 
settled by voters casting ballots, instead of soldiers wielding guns.  
From Mali to Namibia to Mozambique, all across this great continent, 
this is the lesson that Africans are teaching.  The investments we make 
in democracy today can make urgent emergency responses unnecessary 

This summer, the leaders of the Great Lakes region united in a swift 
response to the coup in Burundi.  They were united by opposing sanctions 
and calling for democratic rule and all- party talks.  I urge the OAU to 
build on this encouraging precedent by taking strong public and private 
stands to defend legitimate governments.  When you act together, you 
have the very great power of principle on your side:  the principle 
that, first, negotiated settlements to conflicts must be implemented.  
Second, that democratic institutions must be safeguarded. Third, that 
military coups are unacceptable.  And fourth, that election results must 
be respected.

Speaking of elections, I also hope that here in the OAU, you will give 
even greater attention to what the Secretary General spoke about, -- 
your new efforts at election monitoring -- to make sure that leaders who 
promise fair elections are held to their word.  

The good news is that new African leadership to prevent and resolve 
conflicts can be seen in every corner of the continent.  The recent 
ECOWAS Summit spoke clearly to Liberia's warlords, demanding 
disarmament, demobilization, and an election in 1997.  The South African 
Development Community threw its weight behind the peace process in 
Mozambique, and just last week, in Angola.  

The OAU's growing efforts to monitor and mediate disputes, together with 
the Secretary General's able leadership, are paying off throughout the 
continent.  In recent years, the OAU's quiet diplomacy has helped keep 
democracy on track in the Congo and in Comoros.  It has broken new 
ground by sending military observers to Rwanda and Burundi.  

Nevertheless, sad to say, Burundi today remains on the brink of an even 
greater tragedy, and other nations are also at risk.  We must develop 
the capacity for an effective response in Burundi and in any other 
future crisis.  And we must find new ways for Africans to work together 
and for the international community to support you.  

The time has come to build on your expertise to create a new political 
and military partnership.  One that we have called the African Crisis 
Response Force.  There is already a good foundation to build on, as we 
consider such a new force.  The OAU has gained experience in monitoring 
problem areas.  African states have extensive experience in peace- 
keeping efforts under the United Nations auspices.  Many African 
countries have troops prepared to participate in peace-keeping 
operations, but not the resources to finance them. And several western 
countries are willing to support such operations, but believe that 
African nations should take the leading role.  Hence, an African Crisis 
Response Force would be a logical next step. 

It would consist of African troops reinforced by training, equipment, 
logistical and financial support.  It would come from the United States 
and other countries.  Such a force would be developed in full 
consultation with the United Nations and the OAU.  It would not be a 
standing force, but one that could be quickly assembled, led by 
Africans, and deployed under UN auspices.  Its mission would be to 
protect innocent civilians, ensure the delivery of humanitarian aid, and 
help resolve conflicts in Africa and beyond. 

We are actively engaged in the dialogue with our African and European 
partners, as well as the UN and the OAU, about this valuable new idea.  
The OAU and its members will have a particularly important role to play 
in shaping this partnership.  I hope it will become a strong link in the 
chain of successful responses.  Responses to the conflict that is waging 
in so many areas, and I think a series of conflicts, in which the OAU 
must certainly take important cognizance.  

The United States is prepared to provide substantial support for this 
initiative.  Support which, of course, would be in addition to the $8 
million we are now providing to various OAU activities, including our 
support for the new Conflict Management Center.  In all of these areas, 
the OAU needs the support and involvement of Africa's sub-regional 
organizations. That's why we've committed $40 million last year alone, 
to support ECOMOG in Liberia.  It is why we have organized the Greater 
Horn of Africa initiative, bringing together governments, regional 
organizations, and NGOs.

The OAU plays another critical role, that is the critical role of 
representing Africa's interests around the world.  Africa's support for 
the permanent extension of the Non-Proliferation Treaty was absolutely 
critical.  It was also vital for the adoption by the General Assembly of 
the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.  We must continue to work together in 
our campaign to adopt a comprehensive ban on anti-personnel mines; a 
series of horrors that Africa knows far too well in countries that have 
suffered the ravages of war and land mine laying.  Finally, we cannot 
hope to meet the challenges of sustainable development and women's 
empowerment without Africa's continued leadership; the kind of 
leadership you showed at the UN Women's Conference in Beijing last fall.  

The United Nations has an important role to play in meeting the full 
range of challenges that I've outlined today.  To help us meet them, the 
United Nations needs effective new leadership. We've made it clear that 
we are sympathetic to Africa's desire for a second term. I urge you to 
identify strong African candidates for the Secretary-Generalship of the 
United Nations.  

In closing, let me say that the challenges that I've outlined today are 
formidable, but think of the challenges that you've already overcome 
here in Africa.  When I see the courageous struggle for peace and 
democracy being waged by Africans from the Sahel to Southern Africa, I'm 
impressed by the stubborn persistence of hope among the nations of this 
continent.  If we also have strength and determination, we can realize 
Africa's hopes for a better future.

Thank you very much.

SECRETARY GENERAL SALIM:  For that important address, and as I said 
before, I will now open the floor to those who would like to ask any 
specific questions.  Unfortunately this particular discussion which I am 
doing,  is not for the press.  The press is free to listen, is free to 
report, unfortunately  we have to restrict their freedom to ask 
questions in this particular gathering.  But I am sure the Secretary of 
State will make available another opportunity for you to ask questions.

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:   I'm sure I didn't answer all of their 
questions, Mr. Secretary General.  

SECRETARY GENERAL SALIM: Well, if no one wants to ask a question, then 
let me ask a question. Especially on the issue of the question of the 
African Crisis Responce Force, I think that many of our African 
colleagues would like to have more clarification on a number of issues 
concerning this African Crisis Responce Force.  I think you have 
answered some of the questions, but still there are issues like the 
criteria for participation -- why some countries and not others?  There 
are issues like the issue of command and control, who is going to 
command this African Crisis Responce Force?  Who will be controlling 
this African Crisis Responce Force?  There are issues like the question 
of enduring sustainable support for the African Crisis Responce Force 
because our experience in the continent when dealing with other issues, 
one of which you have alluded to in Liberia, is that there is no 
difficulty in getting African preparedness, African contribution as far 
as manpower, as far as offices of men to deal with crisis.  What we have 
learned from the Liberian crisis is that the actual sustaining of that 
African Crisis Responce Force becomes a real problem.  Of course there 
is also the question of the ownership of the African Crisis Responce 
Force.  Now, I am raising this question, I had expected some ambassadors 
to raise it, but I'm sure I am raising it on behalf of them because it 
was raised with me when I briefed them yesterday.

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: Mr. Secretary General, I told you I'd take a 
question or two, but you have asked me four.  That's a little unfair. 
(Laughter)   Well, let me make some further comments on this African 
Crisis Responce Force, but first let me be, I hope, suitably modest 
about this. Although the United States is promoting this idea, it is one 
that springs from the experience from a number of countries.  We don't 
have any patent on it.  We don't maintain any exclusivity about it.  
Indeed every good idea of this kind generates of a number of different 
sources and we want to build support from the many countries that have 
had a similar idea or felt a similar need.  

With respect to who would participate in it, I would say that our 
initial consultations have been with those who have demonstrated an 
interest in it.  Countries who have had experience in contributing to 
peace-keeping African Crisis Responce Forces of the United Nations in 
the past, and have exhibited a sincere desire to do so, not a mercenary 
desire to do so.  Countries that have had a background of democracy and 
would have civilian control of the African Crisis Responce Force is 
another important criterion, I think.  So, we will begin our 
consultations and broaden them as we go through this process, consulting 
particularly with the United Nations and the OAU, which will have such 
an important role. 

 Under the resolutions adopted by both the OAU and the United Nations, I 
think there is fully added, with authority, to have the initial 
consultations with respect to building up the African Crisis Responce 
Force.  But when you raise command and control decisions, questions that 
I think it is proper to answer,  the United Nations would have to take 
the decision to launch the mission, and it would be under the control of 
the United Nations as other peace-keeping endeavors, as other 
humanitarian endeavors.  If this idea does have merit, I would think the 
genius of the idea is that the African Crisis Responce Force would be 
trained and equipped with some experience in working together so there 
isn't an extremely long lead time between the need for the African 
Crisis Responce Force and being able to put it in the field.  Sometimes 
a delay of three or four months, which it almost takes, can be a very 
critical delay.  

With respect to the support for the African Crisis Responce Force, I 
would emphasize that one of the reasons for our extensive consultation, 
especially with our European and Asian allies and friends -- to 
determine whether or not there is enough interest in this -- whether 
there would be a sustained support, because none of us wants to launch 
this kind of endeavor only to be frustrated by the lack of continuity in 

And finally, the question about the ownership, I'm not exactly sure what 
that question means, but it certainly would be predominantly in the 
hands of those African countries that had committed the troops to the 
endeavor.  Before this kind of a African Crisis Responce Force could be 
launched, of course, every country that has made a tentative commitment 
would have to, in effect, confirm their commitment.  I can't see any 
other way it would operate.  When you got ready to dispatch the African 
Crisis Responce Force to a new area or to a new crisis, the countries 
would then have to determine whether or not they wanted to confirm their 
commitment in the African Crisis Responce Force.  

Mr. Secretary General, I hope I have covered or at least taken a shot at 
the four questions that you asked me.  And maybe someone, during the 
time that I have taken, will have come up with another one or two.  

SECRETARY GENERAL SALIM: Mr. Secretary, we would be very glad to take 
more, but your people have told me that you have to go for a meeting 
right now with the Prime Minister.  I know some of our colleagues want 
to ask questions, but really, on the basis of the pleas which were put 
to me by your cooperators, I want take this opportunity first to express 
my regrets to all those colleagues who may want, and I am sure there are 
many to ask questions. But also to take this opportunity to thank you 
whole-heartedly again for having come here and for having delivered an 
important address, and for having highlighted some of the issues which 
are certainly of African concern. Thank you very much.

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: Thank you very much.

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