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Annan Warns of African 'Adventurism'

February 12, 1999|JOHN J. GOLDMAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

UNITED NATIONS — Secretary-General Kofi Annan warned the Security Council on Thursday of potentially disastrous consequences from "overt military adventurism" as some African governments send troops across their borders to fight.

Annan's remarks concluded a briefing he delivered on Africa's most troublesome conflicts. He urged governments to begin addressing the destabilizing trend before it spreads further.

"The interrelationship between a number of these conflicts is a new and very worrying trend," he told the council's 15 members. "It is even possible to find soldiers from the same army fighting in conflicts in more than one country at the same time."

These deployments may, if unchecked, have "disastrous consequences" for states in a large part of the continent, Annan said.

He said that in Sierra Leone, rebel forces killed more than 3,000 people and burned much of Freetown, the capital, in January. In Angola, where two U.N. planes were shot down, killing 23 people, international organizations, he said, will press to conduct a comprehensive investigation of the crashes.

Annan said the U.N. stands ready to increase its humanitarian aid to vulnerable groups if it receives assurances concerning access and the safety of its personnel.

The secretary-general repeated that it is possible the U.N. will deploy a peacekeeping force to Congo, the former Zaire, if a cease-fire is achieved there. Several of that country's neighbors are involved in its civil war.

After the meeting, Annan called the crises in Africa depressing.

"Unfortunately, because of all these crises, when you mention Africa today, people think only in terms of a continent in crisis and do not go beyond that to discover there are certain countries that are doing well economically and politically, so the whole continent suffers," Annan said.

He said council members are worried about "military adventurism" when troops are sent to fight in other countries.

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