African leaders, analysts challenge
international community at U.N. conference

Special to USAfrica The Newspaper

The 52 meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in New York became another forum to make the case for the more developed countries to assist Africa. African leaders insist that this will make their countries to be better positioned into the 21st century.

From the issue of debt cancellation to technical support program, and of course, the argument for human rights by the Secretary General of The U.N., a west Africa from Ghana Kofi Annan that "nothing in the (U.N) Charter precludes a recognition that there are rights beyond borders" - an indirect reference to dictatorships and brutal deaths in Africa and elsewhere which could have been stopped by more active intervention. Some Africa specialialists and leaders argue that a double standard has overcome issues and crises in the African continent.

During a special briefing on September 21, 1999, Zambia's President Frederick Chiluba told members of the Security Council that the major powers should assist to enforce the peace in Congo, noting that "In other regions of the world where conflicts have occurred, no expense has been spared in the pursuit of peace... This body needs to do the same now for the [Congo] and for Africa.''

Ghana's foreign minister, James Victor Gbeho took on a recent issue of different treatment for Africa. "We have seen in the past few months the kind of resources that the world has been willing and able to mobilize in the Balkans at short notice....We do not see the same response to the tragedies of Africa,'' he said.''

Some of the conflicts where the international community have been largely tepid in responding inside Africa include Angola's more than 2 decades civil strife, Congo, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Some African leaders, and a contributing analyst for USAfricaonline Joe Davidson have argued previously that a different response was brought by President Bill Clinton applied a different energy and sense of urgency to rebuild Kosovo, and before that he pursued a decisive action to stop the killings in the area while doing very little regarding Africa.

During his address, Clinton who visited Africa late March-April 2, 1998 reiterated his position on some issues regarding Africa. "Over the next 10 years in Africa, AIDS is expected to kill more people and orphan more children than all the wars of the 20th century combined.''

He announced he was working to secure $100 million for AIDS prevention, counseling and care in Africa. "No country can break poverty's bonds if its people are disabled by disease and its government is overwhelmed by the needs of the ill,'' he said.

It is also important to underline the fact that although international assistance and interventions can help in many cases regarding the poverty and conflicts in Africa, in the long run, it will be Africans who will halt the killing of Africans by Africans.

Annan, power and burden of the U.N.

Leaders of the world and voices for Africa have been attended the 54th annual general meeting of the United Nations' general assembly in New York, September 20-24, 1999. United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan (from Ghana, in west Africa) represents the new, technocratic face of the continent.

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