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Africa Fact Sheet - OAU heads of state summit

Africa Fact Sheet - OAU heads of state summit

3 November 1999

High Commissioner Sadako Ogata travelled to Algiers in July for the 35th Organization of African Unity Summit where she met with heads of state from key countries to advocate on behalf of refugees and to press for political solutions.

Ogata held discussions with the presidents of Burundi, the DRC, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Zambia on regional conflicts which continue today to create refugees. She urged them to renew their commitment to "Africa's neediest," its millions of refugees and displaced people.

Her call for political settlements echoed the message Ogata carried to Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo during an eight-day mission in June. Promising UNHCR will continue to press for more solidarity with Africa, she cautioned that little support would come before successful conflict resolution.

"Solutions for the millions of uprooted Africans have to be part of a new commitment to peace and reconciliation. Answers can be found in the provisions of the OAU Refugee Convention - one of the cornerstones of the organization itself - and in the will of the continent's leaders," Ogata said.

Ogata hailed the creation of an OAU award for distinguished service to refugees and displaced people, awarded to Tanzania and Côte d'Ivoire in Africa.