Summit Addresses Africa's Despair, Desires

The report by a panel of international experts has been widely applauded by world leaders at the summit, who say the U.N. failures that led to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda and the 1995 massacre of thousands of Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica must never be repeated.

“The darkest pages were written in Rwanda where, under the indifferent eye of all of us, a genocide was committed,” said Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt, whose country lost 10 U.N. soldiers in the opening days of the massacres in central Africa.

He called for a new concept of operations for peacekeeping that would include rapid-reaction regional peacekeeping capabilities.

Blair called for a similar radical change.

Beyond peacekeeping, several African speakers called for the United Nations and its members to address the root economic causes.

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the chairman of the Organization of African Unity, decried how the world’s wealthy countries continued to get richer while Africa’s poor suffered under crushing debt.

“Can we one day free ourselves of this crushing yoke and at last devote our resources to our development and the well-being of our populations?” he asked.

Moi Criticizes Fellow Africans

Mozambique President Joaquim Chissano complained that Africans weren’t reaping the benefits of globalization and were in fact suffering even greater economic inequalities while also trying to deal with the AIDS epidemic.

“This in turn constitutes a source of frustration and conflicts that pose serious threat to international security, stability, democracy and peace,” he said.

While echoing those views, Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi turned the criticism toward his fellow Africans for having allowed wars to fester for generations on a continent that can little afford to fight them or care for their refugees.

“These conflicts also make a mockery of all attempts to reduce poverty — the greatest challenge faced by our continent,” he said.

But he cautioned against the “dangerous pessimism” that Africa was a lost cause, saying its people wanted peace and prosperity.

“I declare our confidence and faith in the future of Africa,” Moi said. “I hope you share this confidence too.”

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