|1st Anniversary Of Organization Of African Unity|
May 26, 1964
|A momentous year ago this day, in a supreme moment of great historical vision, thirty African |
leaders undid the tangled knot of injustices bequeathed from long and shadowy years of
colonialism. Thus was the Organization of African Unity born.
In its wake not only were vast vistas of challenges and opportunities opened but also a stirring
hope and sober recognition has dawned on Africa; a faith and a determination that, immense as
are the challenges that lie ahead, they shallall be conquered, and abundant as are the opportunities
that await us, they shall not be wasted.
Significantly also, with the birth of the Organization, the unmaking of history in Africa -- the
decolonization process -- which was initiated by the struggle of the African peoples themselves has
been given an added, nay, a decisive momentum. For the first time Africa has learned what
strength there is in unity. Thus, we are witnessing the glorious march of Africa on the path of Unity.
The past year has been one of reflection and intensive stock-taking. All organs of the Organization
have met to lay strong groundworks for our future efforts. Now that this useful phase of work has
been completed, we have to resolve that the coming year is the period of decisive take-off.
Considering the magnitude of the pressing problems facing Africa, it is inevitable that we will have
to proceed forthwith at an accelerated pace.
The pattern for bold and imaginative projects on a continental scale has been set by the
establishment of the African Development Bank, the idea of which was of purely African initiative,
now reaching the stage of operation with the assistance of the United Nations and a number of
friendly foreign powers. We are confident that in the very near future Africa will be the site for the
"launchings" of other such beneficial inter-African projects.
In the political domain the year was not without incidents. The likelihood of yet others arising
cannot be ignored. But is it not in recognition of this that the Organization was created? The peace
and order which we all desire to see in Africa cannot certainly be envisaged without handicaps.
What is important is that, in keeping with the auspicious beginnings we have made, if disputes
break out amongst us, we insulate them from the cold war and seek their solutions within the
Councils of the family. We should attach as much importance to the process and mechanism of
finding solutions to our disputes as to the solutions themselves, to set a precedent for co-operation
in the future.
|The Algerian-Moroccan conflict in a way provided the first opportunity to put to a real test the |
mechanism for constructive diplomacy which we had so labouriously and painstakingly built at
Addis Ababa. Thanks to their political wisdom and their eagerness to listen to family counsels, the
hostilities that so suddenly bedevilled relations between the two brotherly African countries have
ceased altogether. The Speical Commission created by the meeting of our Foreign Ministers has
not spared any effort in its search for a mutually acceptable solution.
Likewise in the Ethiopian-Somali conflict, both parties have shown their readiness to seek within
the O.A.U. such solutions for their differences. The direct contacts that have recently been
established between Ethiopia and the Somali Republic in Khartoum have already produced
beneficial results. A Joing Commission is currently engaged in supervizing the withdrawl of troops
to fifteen kilometers on both sides of the border, thus strengthening the ceasefire arrangements
recommended by the Council of Ministers. What remains now is to carry still further the
momentum thus generated by this limited but neverless very auspicious agreement.
The collective response of African countries to the request of President Nyerere to examine the
situation that had arisen in Tanganyika and East Africa as a result of army mutinies has led to the
first concrete result in the field of co-operation in defence matters. This achievement is a
significant herald to yet more useful results to come in inter-African co-operation.
Last year, we remarked that what we Africans lacked was the mechanism which would enable us to
speak with one voice and to act in unison. Today, we have the O.A.U. as the authentic voice of a
new and united and ever-progressive Africa. Its achievements of this past year should spur us on
to continue unflinchingly our dedication to realize the noble aspirations of the peoples of our
|Haile Selassie the First - May 26, 1964|