(AFP, PRETORIA) - Visiting Egyptian Foreign Minister Amre Moussa Thursday called for an international conference on Africa's external debt crisis.
"(It) should deal with the fundamentals of the problem once and for all, bypassing cosmetic half-baked approaches to the issue," Moussa said in an address at the University of Pretoria.
"It has become clear to most observers that only a substantial cancellation in the bulk of African debt can lead to real progress in African economic performance."
Moussa arrived in South Africa on Wednesday to co-chair, with his South African counterpart Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the Egypt-South Africa joint bilateral commission.
The fourth session of the commission was scheduled to end on Friday, but the closing was brought forward to Thursday afternoon as Moussa was called back to Cairo to deal with issues regarding the Middle East peace process.
Moussa said the economic challenges facing Africa had been compounded by political instability and violence.
"Regardless of their roots and nature, these conflicts' toll is enormous, whether in terms of human loss and suffering or slower growth and lesser development," he said.
"Ensuring stability in the long run requires us to focus on ensuring democratic practices and good governance to increase the public participation in the decision-making process, and to promote respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms."
© Agence France Presse 2000
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )