Africa Notes: Diplomacy's Day in Northern Africa? - December 1987
December 20, 1987
The character of politics in the northern third of Africa may be undergoing a sea change. Generational transitions in political leadership have occurred in Tunisia and Niger, creating fresh opportunities for realignment of regional forces. Egypt seems to be emerging from its diplomatic isolation in the Arab world as a result of the November summit in Amman, Jordan. And even more dramatic shifts are occurring in the geographic triangle comprising Libya, Chad, and Algeria, where Algeria's President Chadli Benjedid and the Organization of African Unity's new chairman, President Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia, are engaged in complementary initiatives aimed at modifying the erratic behavior of Libya's Colonel Muammar al-Qaddafi through adroit diplomacy. Another key player could be Tunisia's new president, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who concluded his first official announcement as head of state with a pledge to "achieve the unity of the Maghreb on the basis of common interests."