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Government, Opposition Close to Political Agreement

Panafrican News Agency, 24 December 2000

Moroni, Comoros - The government and opposition in Comoro are said to be close to an agreement that could involve power-sharing and a reduction of political tension in the country.

Communications Minister Abdou Soimadou, and opposition spokesman Houmed Msaidie, announced the development Saturday evening in Moroni.

"The conditions have been met for an extra-step to be crossed on either side," Msaidie said.

For her part, Soimadou indicated that government was prepared to sign the text as early as possible.

Although both officials failed to give details, political observers say the accord provides for power sharing between the opposition and parties close to the presidency during the transitional period.

They say it also provides for debates on the constitution of the "New Comorian Ensemble" within a joint institution comprising government and opposition members.

There is also provision for the establishment of an Independent National Electoral Committee.

The observers claim the accord further stipulates that Comorian President Assoumani Azali, in power since the 30 April 1999 coup, be excluded from the next Presidential election.

The political rapprochement was said to have been made possible through the mediation by a delegation from the International Francophonie Organisation, led by Andre Salifou, of Niger.

But it was unclear if the leadership of the Anjouanese secessionist Movement is prepared to sign the accord, as suggested by an OAU mission, recently led to the Comoros by Jose Franscisco Madeira.

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