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Wednesday, July 14, 1999 Published at 16:51 GMT 17:51 UK

World: Africa

OAU summit ends with democracy plea

Thabo Mbeki: "Now we must act"

The Organisation of African Unity summit has ended with pleas for democracy and peace in the continent.

"We want democracy," Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika declared three times in his closing speech at the summit in Algiers - the 35th in the OAU's history.

But he added that Africa would not accept democracy "by an imposed model."

[ image: Abdelaziz Bouteflika said democratic models could not be imposed]
Abdelaziz Bouteflika said democratic models could not be imposed
South African President Thabo Mbeki called for peace in the whole of Africa, following the peace accords in Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

President Mbeki described the three-day summit as "a great step forward" for Africa.

But he warned: "The words have been spoken. We must now act."

Coups not tolerated

Mark Doyle: "African leaders at the OAU seem to have decided they are in favour of democracy"
On Tuesday, the heads of state at the summit resolved to isolate any government which came to power by force of arms, and to encourage democracy on the continent.

OAU spokesman Ibrahim Dagash said that from now on any regime that mounted a coup d'etat would not be allowed to join the OAU and would not be welcome at OAU summits.

But BBC Correspondent Mark Doyle, who was at the summit, says the OAU apparently has no plans to encourage democracy in countries where the present governments came to power in military coups

More than half of the delegations that went to Algiers represent governments that originally came to power by force of arms.

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