South Africa's OAU-mandated role
in respect of the Federal Islamic Republic of the
Current status of conflict and involvement of international
The situation in the Comoros has changed over time.
The economic and social problems of the Comoros
have frequently resulted in a perpetuated state
of instability. More recently, Anjouan attempted
to secede and declare its own independence. The
central government in Moroni failed to suppress
civil disobedience and to disarm the militia in
Anjouan. The OAU was invited to help disarm the
Anjouanese Separatists. The OAU, with the objective
of preserving the unity and integrity of member
states, stepped in and organised the Addis Ababa
International Conference in December 1997, to define
a new constitutional framework to preserve the national
unity and territorial integrity of the Archipelago.
The Conference confirmed the need to assist in the
alleviation of poverty in the Comoros and decided
to convene a Round-Table of Donors and an Inter-Island
Conference on the Comoros. The Inter-Island Conference
met in Madagascar from 19-23 April 1999 and produced
the Antananarivo Accord, which the Anjouanese Separatists
refused to sign.
Following the death of President Taki in November
1998, Col Azali seized power of the Comoros in a
coup detat on 30 April 1999. This complicated
the Antanananarivo Accord process. The OAU imposed
a range of punitive measures against the Anjouanese
Separatists and also ruled that Col. Azalis
government was not welcome at OAU meetings.
On 26 August 2000 the Fomboni Agreement was signed
between Col. Azali and Col. Abeid, as representatives
of the Comoran government and Anjouan respectively,
to the exclusion of political parties. This was
unacceptable to the OAU, and a Ministerial meeting
of Countries of the Region was held on 29 December
2000 in Pretoria to discuss the Comorian crisis.
Subsequently a negotiation/mediation team was despatched
to the Comoros.
After a period of six weeks intense negotiations,
an All-Party Framework Agreement was signed by representatives
of all three islands as well as the opposition parties
on 17 February 2001. This agreement confirms the
OAU negotiated principles as contained in the Antananarivo
Agreement of April 1999. These are:
The unity and territorial integrity of the Comoros;
A unified solution based on inclusivity of all parties
and interest groups from the three islands (inclusiveness);
A return to constitutional order.
Due to the progress made, and since the two main
aims of the OAU (territorial integrity and constitutional
rule) are contained in the All Party Agreement the
OAU Council of Ministers, meeting in Tripoli, Libya
from 24 to 26 February 2001 decided inter alia:
.to immediately suspend the measures
taken by the OAU against the leaders of the Anjouanese
Movement, it being understood that the measures
will be lifted definitively upon the establishment
of the Transitional Government of National Unity
provided for in the Framework Agreement."
Council also requested "the Secretary General
to take all the necessary steps to facilitate the
speedy and scrupulous implementation of the Framework
Agreement for Reconciliation in the Comoros, particularly
measures relating to the Framework Agreement Follow-up
Mechanism, the drafting and adoption of the Constitution,
arms collection, the reintegration of the youth
and the organization of a Donors Conference".
The Role played by South Africa
South Africa as OAU mandated Coordinator of the
Countries of the Region on the Comoros has coordinated
several meetings, many of which we have hosted,
and also took a lead in arranging logistics for
visits by various delegations to the Comoros. The
transition process is being monitored closely and
South Africa is ready to assist however it can with
the return of the Comoros to constitutional order.