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Note: This document is from the archive of the Africa Policy E-Journal, published by the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC) from 1995 to 2001 and by Africa Action from 2001 to 2003. APIC was merged into Africa Action in 2001. Please note that many outdated links in this archived document may not work.

US/Africa: Anti-War Statements, 1

Africa Policy E-Journal
March 7, 2003 (030307)

US/Africa: Anti-War Statements, 1
(Reposted from sources cited below)

This posting contains a press release from Africa Action and TransAfrica Forum, the texts of letters from Africa Action, TransAfrica Forum, African American leaders, and the Advocacy Network for Africa, as well as a statement from the Angola Peace Network. Other postings today contain excerpts from an interview with the outgoing Nigerian ambassador to the United States and a background report from the Association of Concerned Africa Scholars on U.S. military programs in sub-Saharan Africa.

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March 7, 2003


Contact: Africa Action 202/546 7961

TransAfrica Forum 202/223 1960 Ext. 113

African American Leaders & Africa advocacy groups call on African Members of UN Security Council to Vote Against War

Letters to African Ambassadors warn of devastating consequences of war for Africa; Urge support for peaceful resolution to current crisis

Friday, March 7, 2003 (Washington, DC) - Africa Action today joined with TransAfrica Forum and other key Africa advocacy organizations in sending letters to the Ambassadors of the African countries on the United Nations (UN) Security Council, urging them to oppose U.S.-led moves toward war against Iraq. Signatories to the letters also include such prominent individuals as Danny Glover, Mary Francis Berry, Joseph E. Lowery, Walter Mosley & Sylvia Hill.

The letters to the Ambassadors and Permanent Representatives of Guinea, Cameroon and Angola warn that a war in the Middle East will have devastating economic and political consequences for Africa. They urge the African states to stand firm against pressure from the U.S. and Britain, and to promote a course that will encourage a peaceful resolution of this international dispute.

In a letter initiated by Africa Action and TranAfrica Forum, signatories declared that war against Iraq would be "unwelcome and unwarranted." They note that, "At least 81% of African-Americans oppose the planned war...(and) around the globe, millions of people have stood up in opposition to this planned aggression."

The letter emphasizes that, "Africa, in particular, would suffer significantly from the global economic consequences of war at a time when Africans are facing the truly greatest global threat to human security, namely the HIV/AIDS pandemic. This should be the scourge receiving the attention and resources that have been devoted instead to debating and designing interventions against Iraq."

In a separate letter initiated by the Advocacy Network for Africa (ADNA), a national network of more than 200 Africa-focused organizations of which Africa Action is a member, endorsers affirm their solidarity with the people of Guinea, Cameroon and Angola, asserting that "a policy of pre-emptive war violates the principles upon which the United Nations was founded, and it will create a dangerous precedent."

The letter continues: "We are convinced that your governments' having the courage to stand for peace will not only contribute to a peaceful resolution in this case, it will also strengthen African voices in international forums in the future."

The letters were endorsed by dozens of organizations and activists from across the U.S. The text of the letters and the full list of signatories of the first letter are included below.

March 7, 2003

To the Governments of Guinea, Cameroon and Angola

Dear President Lansana Conte, President Paul Biya, and President José Eduardo dos Santos:

As African-American leaders and activists we urgently call upon your governments to stand firm against the efforts by the United States, Britain and Spain to undermine the work of the United Nations' weapons inspectors now working in Iraq and to initiate a war against Iraq.

We understand that your respective governments are under considerable pressure from the United States and Britain to support their resolution designed to authorize war with Iraq. We believe that this would be a terrible mistake. The USA and Britain are committed to commencing a war that breaks all international laws and precedent. It is a war that is not based on a real threat to Iraq's neighbors or to other countries. Indeed none of Iraq's neighbors have made a call for an international military mobilization against the Baathist regime in Iraq.

As you may know, there is considerable opposition within the USA to the planned war. At least 81% of African Americans oppose the planned war. Support within the rest of the country for war is extremely limited, with answers to polling questions varying dramatically depending on how the questions are phrased. And, as you certainly know, around the globe, millions of people have stood up in opposition to this planned war.

We believe that the U.S. and British effort to initiate a world war in the Middle East is not only unwarranted and unwelcome, but also that it will have devastating economic and social consequences for the most impoverished and most vulnerable citizens and countries throughout the world. Africa, in particular, would suffer significantly from the global economic consequences of war at a time when Africans are facing the truly greatest global threat to human security, namely the HIV/AIDS pandemic. This should be the scourge receiving the attention and resources that have been devoted instead to debating and designing interventions against Iraq.

We hope that with Guinea taking over the Chairmanship of the Security Council this month, that the African members will provide the necessary leadership to avoid a war that will be especially antithetical to the interests of African and Arab peoples, and disastrous for the rest of the world.

We hope that in the consideration of this matter that you decline to support the US/British/Spanish initiative and will, instead, promote a course that encourages the peaceful resolution of this international dispute.

Respectfully submitted by,

Mary Frances Berry, University of Pennsylvania*
Salih Booker, Executive Director, Africa Action
Bill Fletcher, Jr., President, TransAfrica Forum
Patricia Ford, Executive Vice President, Service Employees International Union*
Danny Glover, Actor/Activist
Richard Gordon Hatcher, President of National Civil Rights Hall of Fame; Valparaiso University School of Law*
Sylvia Hill, University of the District of Columbia*
Jesse L. Jackson, Founder and President, Rainbow/Push Coalition
Joseph E. Lowery, Co-Founder and President Emeritus, SCLC; Chairman Emeritus Black Leadership Forum
Julianne Malveaux, Economist/Author
Fred Mason, Maryland/DC AFL-CIO*
Walter Mosley, Author
Harold Rogers, International Affairs Director of the Foreign Affairs Committee and Executive Board Member of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists
Damu Smith, Founder, Black Voices for Peace
(*--signifies for identification only)

The Advocacy Network for Africa
c/o The Washington Office on Africa
212 East Capitol Street - Washington, D.C. 20003, U.S.A.
Phone: 202/547-7503 - Fax: 202/547-7505

March 7, 2003

Ambassador Mohamed Aly Thiam
Embassy of the Republic of Guinea
2112 Leroy Place NW
Washington, DC 20008

Dear Ambassador Thiam:

The Advocacy Network for Africa (ADNA), originally founded in the late seventies as the anti-apartheid South Africa Working Group, is a network of 231 US-based human rights, religious, developmentoriented and other organizations working with African colleagues and networks to address common concerns regarding US-Africa policy. Thirty to forty representatives of these organizations meet monthly in Washington to discuss current issues and to coordinate common advocacy. We share a passion for and a commitment to political, social and economic justice for Africans and a more just and mutually beneficial relationship between the US and African countries.

We come today to express our solidarity with the people of Guinea as decisions are reached regarding Security Council actions on the Iraqi question. We believe, as do you, that peace should be given a chance in Iraq. We note approvingly the action of the African Union meetings in Addis Ababa last month, where heads of state and government urged all parties to make sustained efforts to avoid the use of force and reaffirmed the central role of the United Nations and, particularly, the Security Council, in any action or initiative aimed at maintaining and strengthening peace and international security.

Not only will a war against Iraq bring humanitarian catastrophe of great magnitude; it will also create reactions that no one can predict or control. It has the potential to threaten to destabilize African countries politically, and it will affect African economies negatively. At least 13 African countries lost 1% of their GDP due to spikes in oil prices during the 1991 Gulf War, and there is no reason not to expect similar difficulties now. Moreover, a policy of pre-emptive war violates the principles upon which the United Nations was founded, and it will create a dangerous precedent.

We therefore urge you to hold firm to those principles. No doubt there are risks for Guinea should you challenge our government's preparations for pre-emptive war and thereby refuse to serve the narrow self-interest of our government. We are convinced, however, that your government's having the courage to stand for peace will not only contribute to a peaceful resolution in this case, it will also strengthen African voices in international forums in future. Such an affirmation of our common humanity is the true sign of Security Council relevance.

Please accept this letter as a respectful expression of our concerns and hopes.

On behalf of my colleagues at ADNA, I am

Yours sincerely,

Leon P. Spencer Co-facilitator of ADNA and

Executive Director Washington Office on Africa

Cc: Permanent Mission of the Republic of Guinea to the UN; Permanent Mission of the Republic of Angola to the UN; Permanent Mission of the Republic of Cameroon to the UN; Ambassador of the Republic of Angola; Ambassador of the Republic of Cameroon

Declaration Against War in the World

February 15, 2003

[This statement was received from the Angolan Peace Network through AfricaFiles in Toronto ( Thanks to Thomas Brown for the translation from Portuguese.]


February 15/03

Inter-Church Committee for Peace in Angola.
Luanda, Angola

To: His Excellency Dr. Kofi Annan,
Secretary-General, United Nations.
Subject: Declaration Against War in the World


The world has today, February 15, 2003, marked the United Nations Day Against War, at a time when Angolans are experiencing the transition from a situation of war to one of peace, even though the armed conflict yet continues in one part of our national territory.

Looking at the various conflicts in the world the Peace Network, as a living force in Angola civil society which struggled to bring about peace in Angola, notes with great pre-occupation that the world continues divided between those countries which as a result of their resources and their geo-strategic importance are of major importance to the super-powers and those, which given their small economic importance are not represented by the economic interests of the powers of this time.

The imminent attack by the United States and its allies on Iraq and the war in the Middle East (between Palestinians and Israelies) today dominates the calendar of the United Nations and the international press, to the detriment of the long-standing conflicts in other parts of the globe, especially Africa, where wars never stop as a result of a lack of serious intervention and an investment of the resources and time, with a vision of finding ways conducive to the search for a genuine and lasting peace in these countries.

In our African continent, of which Your Excellency is a beloved son, countries such as Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Somalia and Liberia, to name a few, continue to bleed because of the wars whose consequences are catastrophic, placing the people of these countries in a situation of total dependence and sub-human conditions. Sadly the connivance of the international community does not allow us to discern on the horizon an immediate end to these conflicts.

As a people still emerging from a fratricidal war of 27 years, as well as the other wars which preceded it due to the resistance against Portuguese colonialism, Angolans know well the deathly results of any war. Thus we believe the justifications of a war, however objective, do not diminish the destructive character of war, nor diminish its immoral character.

As agents of peace we are convinced that violence only generates more violence and for this reason we vehemently repudiate the attack which is being perpetrated against the sovereign state of Iraq, and call on the Security Council to use its power and mandate to promote world peace and stop the use of force against the martyred people of Iraq, since there has not been until now convincing reasons which justify such outrageous acts against a sovereign people.

We repeat our appeal to the United Nations, as a legitimate representative of the aspirations of the world’s people, to strengthen further this peace in the whole region of the Middle East, particularly for the people of Palestine and Israel who for 50 years have lived on the edge of an explosion.

In face of the inherent pre-occupation for universal survival we cannot allow, on the part of anyone, that we be diverted from the great struggles of humanity today, namely: the fight against poverty, drugs and the traffic in children and the great epidemics such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, as well as those efforts which are yet to be made for the establishment of governance which is just and participatory in this global village and respect, for all, of a international judicial order.

We entreat the Permanent and Non-Permanent of the Security Council, especially those from Africa (Angola, Cameroon and Guinea) to re-affirm the commitment of the Organization of African Unity at its recent extraordinary assembly in its voting against any war effort.

Luanda, February 15, 2003,

For the Peace Network,
Dr. Daniel Ntoni-Nzinga,
Executive Secretary, COIEPA

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Date distributed (ymd): 030307
Region: Continent-Wide
Issue Areas: +political/rights+ +security/peace+ +US policy focus+

The Africa Action E-Journal is a free information service provided by Africa Action, including both original commentary and reposted documents. Africa Action provides this information and analysis in order to promote U.S. and international policies toward Africa that advance economic, political and social justice and the full spectrum of human rights.

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