Comoran, Anjouan Leaders Sign Joint Declaration
Panafrican News Agency, 27 August 2000
Moroni - Comoran head of state Col. Azali Assoumani and Anjouan separatist leader Lt. Col. Said Abeid have signed a joint declaration expected to end the crisis in the islands.
Under Saturday's accord initialled at Fomboni on the Moheli island, they agreed to commit themselves to creating a "Comoran entity," itself a subject of international law with a restricted list of common areas of competence, namely religion, nationality and currency.
They also reaffirmed their membership the franc currency zone.
The creation of a tri-partite Commission (Anjouan, Moheli and Greater Comoro) was also agreed, to help define the mechanisms and modalities for the operation of the new Comorian entity.
The commission is charged with drafting the fundamental act of the new entity, although the agreement did not say whether it would be a confederation as demanded by the Anjouan separatist, or a federation favoured by the authorities in Moroni.
The Comoran opposition is known to have disowned this approach, which it believes to be against the Antananarivo accord.
The Organisation of African Unity has also reportedly denounced the latest accord, even before it was signed.
The continental body said in a communique that the agreement would "contribute to the aggravation of tension and instability in the archipelago..."
OAU ambassadors said after the meeting of their committee on conflict resolution that the Fomboni accord would "undermine the unity and territorial integrity of the Comoros."
For lacking international support, it is feared that the implementation of the accord depends only on the goodwill of its signatories.
In his speech at the occasion, Abeid, however, made a point of trying to remove the "doubt," by acknowledging "the presence of the federal Islamic Republic of the Comoros."
He paid tribute to "the memory of the martyrs of the Anjouanese cause" and to the entire Anjouanese for ""their courage and their dignity in the face of a cruel and unfair embargo."
He said the accord was to "reduce the fracture" in the Comoros islands, adding that since the country's independence, successive leaders had never taken into account the sufferings and aspirations of the people.
Abeid also paid tribute to Asoumani for his "courage and clear-sightedness."
Assoumani said the Moheli accord would put and end to the devastating conflict on the archipelago.
Paying gratitude to the OAU, he expressed the hope that "in the coming days, Comorans from the four islands would meet under the same conditions of trust, fraternity and hope," to lay a foundation of peace.
"We all have the duty to succeed as the international community is asking itself questions on our...will or our real capacity to succeed where others have failed," he added.
He said he was stretching out his hand of fellowship "to all those who believe in serving the country and making its future bright."
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