Nigeria black Africa's richest and most populous state warned the continent's other independent black nations today that quarrels and wars among themselves require "an urgent cure."
In a blunt speech that reflected his military background, Lt. Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo, Nigeria's head of state said, "Dep serate situations call for desperate solutions."
He called on the summit conference of the 49 members of the badly divided Organizations of African unity to take "Urgent and positive steps...to devise a more effective machinery for resolving intra-African conflicts."
Obasanjo suggested creation of a five-to-seven member standing committee to deal with independent African conflicts."
Obasanjo suggested creation of a five-to-sevenmember standing committee to deal with independent Africa's many festering problems.
He also urged that the OAU secretary general normally more a caretaker than a decision-maker, be given "the necessary powers to respond promptly and effectively" to the continent's problems.
"Intra-African quarrels now constitute such an ominous and undesirable development that there is at present a real threat to peace and harmony in our continent," he said.
The Nigerian leader spoke harshly of fellow OAU members who he said are $13 million in arrears in their pledges to the liberation committee that disburses funds to nationalist guerrillas fighting to end white rule in southern Africa.
He said that if "only a fraction of the incredible stockpile of arms and ammunition in Africa" is made available to "freedom fighters" instead of being used in "fratricidal" combat, "the cause of liberation will be dramatically advanced."
Obasanjo's speech was one in a series reflecting the fact that black Africa's own problems rather than the struggle to end white rule are the center of the formal agenda adopted today.
Many topics were left over from previous summits or left unresolved by the foreign ministers, who ended their preparatory meeting after arguing inconclusively until 4 a.m. today.
A major agenda item deals with the Western Sahara, where Algerian backed Polisario guerrillas are fighting Morocco and Mauretania, which annexed the former Spanish territory last year.
At the last OAU summit a year ago, deadlocked heads of state voted to hold a special session on the Sahara within 12 months, but the meeting was never held. Meanwhile, the fighting has escalated.
Among other agenda items are Chad's complaint that Libya has occupied 45,000 square miles of its terri- [TEXT OMITTED FROM SOURCE]
Emerging from a long period of relative silence, the continent's moderate leaders, a big majority among the 23 heads of state here, appeared determined to condemn intervention in Africa by the Soviet Union.
Their purposefulness here contory, a complaint by the Comoro Islands in the Indian Ocean that its citizens have been massacred on Madagascar, and Zaire's suggestion that the OAU's moribund arbitration, meditation and concilation machinery be reviewed. [TEXT OMITTED FROM SOURCE] trasted with their passivity at the Angolan civil war and their similar silence when former Soviet President Nikolai Podgorny's visited Southern Africa and over Cuban leader Fidel Castro's involvements in Ethiopia and elsewhere on the continent.
Radical Algeria, however, with the Western Sahara in mind, has insisted that Morocco and Mauretania indicted the OAU principle of respecting national boundaries inherited from the European colonial powers. At the same time, Algeria champions the right of all people to self-determination - a principle which, because of the continent's ariberarily drawn boders, could call into question the boundaries of almost every member state.
Indicative of the touchiness on most issues was Zaire President Mobutu Sese Seko's charge that Secretary General William Eteki was guilty of "intellectural dishonesty" in his refusal to endorse Zaire's argument that its rich mining province of Shaba had been invaded from Angola. Eteki's report said there was not enough evidence to decide whether the trouble stemmed from an invasion or from internal discontent.
Faced with such squabbling, the African nationalists spoke directly to the press.
Robert Mugabe, leader of one wing of the guerillas fighting Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith's white government told reporters he expects to meet with British Foreign Secretary Robert Owen "within a week or so" to try to find a solution to the Rhodesian question by next year.
The meeting will probably be in Mozambique. Tanzania or Zambia. He said. Muqabe virtually ruled out the possibility of progress unless his forces are authorized to take over security directly from the Smith government.
Although Mugabe said it is "very very important" that his Patriotic Front be recognized as the sole representative of Zimbabwe (the African name for Rhodesia) observers doubted any such official stamp would come from the conference.
The issue has been alive since the OAU appointed five so-called front line states last year to decide whether Mugabe and co-leader Joshua Nkomo or their civilian rivals should represent the Zimbabwe liberation movement.
The five states backed the Patriotic Front because it was doing the fighting, but the moderates blocked formal endorsement at an OAU foreign minister's conference last winter.