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|Friday, July 07, 2000, updated at 10:12(GMT+8)|
72nd Ordinary Session of Council of Ministers Opens in LomeThe 72nd Ordinary Session of the Council of Ministers was opened in Lome Thursday afternoon with its major topics focusing on the present situation in Africa and the issues of peace and development that the African countries are confronted with.
Foreign ministers of member states of the Organization of the African Unity (OAU) and representatives of some regional and international organizations attended the session.
After opening the session by Thomasmtsoahae Thabane, chairman of the previous Council of Ministers and foreign minister of Lesotho, Dr. Salim Ahmed Salim, secretary-general of the OAU, said this session of council is taking place "amidst difficult circumstances and profound challenges for our Continent and our peoples as well as for the OAU Itself."
While mentioning the phenomenon of protracted and recurrent conflicts, poverty and natural disasters that continue to menace the African people, Salim stressed the necessity of strengthening and reinvigorating the unity, cohesion and solidarity in Africa.
He said "the call for the creation of the African Union and the acceleration of the implementation of the Abuja Treaty, including the establishment of the African Parliament stand out in importance and urgency. "
Consequently, he said, one of the most important tasks before this council is the consideration of recommendations emerging from the ministerial meeting which was held in Tripoli and which was preceded by meetings of Legal Experts and Parliamentarians.
"I am confident that the council will consider these recommendations, address some of the outstanding issues, such as requirements of the transitional period between the existing OAU Charter and entry into force of the Constitutive Act of the African Union," he added.
Consideration of these questions and others in the participants' deliberations on this vital subject will lead the council to forward recommendations to the African heads of state and government who will attend the 36th annual OAU summit to be held in the Togolese capital of Lome from July 10 to 12.
Togolese Prime Minister Eugene Koffi Adoboli, Deputy Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Committee of Africa (UNECA) Lalla Ben Barka also delivered speeches at the opening ceremony.
The session elected Togolese Foreign Minister Kokou Toseph Koffigoh as Chairman of the current Council of Ministers.
Noting that the African Continent is facing all kinds ofchallenges, Koffigoh urged every African country to fully mobilize its people to contribute to economic development, peace and stability.
During the three-day session, foreign ministers of the OAU member states will examine Salim's report on the situation in Africa and major tasks that the OAU is facing, and make full preparations for the forthcoming OAU summit.
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