Africa Notes: OAU Assembly XXV - August 1989
August 30, 1989
After six days of agenda-shaping by the Council of (foreign) Ministers, the twenty-fifth annual Assembly of Heads of State of the Organization of African Unity was held July 24-26 at OAU headquarters in Addis Ababa.
The 1989 meeting evoked varying assessments of the organization's relevance and future. Africa Confidential (London), noting that fewer heads of state attended this year's summit than Zaire's President Mobutu was able to assemble for the Angolan reconciliation meeting he hosted at Gbadolite in June or than came to the fifteenth annual French-African summit held in Casablanca in December 1988, concluded that "even an optimist would be hard pressed to deny that ... the OAU may not survive the 1990s in its current form." On the other hand, veteran Africa-watcher Colin Legum began his report of the twenty-fifth Assembly on a decidedly optimistic note: "The [OAU] seems set to regain some of its earlier momentum with the election of a dynamic new secretary-general, Salim Ahmed Salim, the veteran Tanzanian diplomat with a reputation for drive and militancy" (Third World Reports, August 16, 1989).