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Thursday, 16 April, 1998, 23:19 GMT 00:19 UK
Annan: Africa failed by its leaders
Kofi Annan wants African leaders to abandon military solutions to problems
Kofi Annan wants African leaders to abandon military solutions to problems
The United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan, has called on African leaders to join forces with the international community in urgently tackling the continent's political and economic problems.

Mr Annan was speaking in the Security Council at the launch of his new report outlining the sources of conflict facing the continent and solutions to them.

Mr Annan said Africa had been failed by its leaders and by the rest of the world - more than 30 wars since 1970 were evidence of that.

While Mr Annan acknowledges the difficulties Africa inherited from its imperial rulers, he insists it is no longer acceptable for the continent to blame them for its many home-grown problems.

"The continent must look beyond its colonial past for the sources and the solutions to its current conflicts," Mr Annan said.

Democracy instead of military solutions

In broad terms Mr Annan recommends that African leaders abandon military solutions to problems and embrace democracy, rejecting what he calls the previous winner-takes-all approach to politics on the continent.

He also urges African governments to defend human rights, root out corruption and enact sound economic reforms.

The Secretary-General says the outside world can support such reforms by reducing the debt burden of the poorest nations, eliminating trade barriers to African products, and by supporting peace-making and peace-keeping efforts on the continent.

He urged African leaders to seek political solutions rather than military responses, and he said the international community must summon the will to help Africa.

He said a meeting of the Security Council in a week's time would provide an opportunity to consider how best to do this.

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