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High Commissioner to attend Organisation of African Unity summit

Briefing notes

High Commissioner to attend Organisation of African Unity summit

9 July 1999

Mrs. Ogata will travel Sunday, 11 July, to Algiers for the three-day, 35th OAU Heads of State Summit. Delegations gathering in the Algerian capital are to discuss several of the continent's continuing conflicts, and Mrs. Ogata will meet with several heads of state from key countries to advocate on behalf of refugees created by the crises and to press for political solutions.

Of urgent concern to UNHCR is the situation in Sierra Leone, responsible for almost 500,000 of the continent's 3.3 million refugees. A peace agreement was reached Wednesday, 7 July, and a joint-UN mission flew yesterday by helicopter to meet with rebel leaders in Buedu and work out humanitarian access to areas of the country previously cut off by fighting. UNHCR will conduct several missions to other isolated towns next week.

Mrs. Ogata is scheduled to meet with Nigerian President Obasanjo, whose country has provided peace-keeping troops for Sierra Leone, as well as leaders from several Central African countries and the Secretary General of the OAU, Salim Ahmed Salim.