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AFRICA: Mr. Ambassador, you are Chairman of the Committee on Decolonisation, better known as the Committee of 24 and also the current Chairman of the Africa Group at the UN. What has your Committee done so far vis.a-vis decolonisation in general and how would you assess the impact of the Africa Group in pushing decolonisation at the UN level?

SALIMI think it is important to bear in mind the origin and character of the Committee of 24. It was created in 1961 after the adoption of the famous Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples in 1960. It serves, as it were, as a watchdog on the implementation by the administering powers or the governing powers of the obligations and responsibilities under the United Nations Charter. But we have gradually transformed it into a Committee essentially to support the efforts of the liberation movements. To begin with, it is important to have one thing clear; the independence of a country can only be won by the people of that country. What the United Nations can do, on the basis of present day realities, is to exert pressure on the colonial powers and to support the efforts of the people concerned. Thus to the extent that the Committee made efforts on behalf of the liberation movements in the UN, its achievements have been remarkable. Since the Committee was created, a number of countries have attained independence, the Committee can claim to have contributed in this respect.


Africa Journal No. 40 December 1974

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