- The Presidency of the European Union (EU) today stated its full support for the 'Moroni Agreement', reached in December, to end the political crisis in Comoros. The EU said it was to assist in its implementation.
Today's declaration by the EU Presidency did not specify how Europe was to assist the Comoran Union in implementing the 'Moroni Agreement'. There have however been indications that the EU primarily will assist in the holding of parliamentary elections and institution building, both financially and by sending observers and advisers.
French Development Minister Pierre-Andre Wiltzer, who was present during the negotiations in Comoros in December, gave the Moroni government assurances of future support. Mr Wiltzer in particular mentioned European monetary funds, whose creation had been decided in October 2003.
These funds were to "make it possible to organise elections and to contribute to the normal operation of state institutions during the transitional period," Mr Wiltzer said in Moroni.
The French government in particular and the EU are thus expected to assure the financing of the forthcoming parliamentary elections, which were an important part of the 'Moroni Agreement'. The EU is also expected to send election observer to avoid similar fraud accusations as during the 2002 presidential elections.
Further, funds and advisors are needed to get Comoran fiscal and security institutions running, and the Comoros are counting on EU support. The control over these institutions has so far been disputed between the federal government and the governments of the three autonomous islands and for example the new customs authority, which is to be established according to the 'Moroni Agreement', will need foreign aid to get started.
In a first public statement on developments in Comoros since the 20 December Agreement, the EU today assured it was "determined to lend its full support to the successful implementation of the Moroni Agreement." The EU Presidency saw the agreement as "an essential stage in the process of reconciliation in the Comoros" and saluted "the spirit of compromise shown by the Comoran parties."
The Comoran parties agreed to the holding of parliamentary elections within 4 months from the signing of the agreement, establishment of a new customs regime, management of an interim budget and security measures before and during the elections.
Since the establishment of the Comoran Union - which gives autonomy to the three Comoran islands Grande Comore, Anjouan and Moheli - the Union's presidency and the presidency of Grande Comore have blocked each other's effort to take control of the economy and security of the archipelago's main island.
The mediation between the Comoran foes during the last year has been led by the African Union (AU). South African President Thabo Mbeki, chief AU mediator, on 20 December achieved the breakthrough that led to the signing of the 'Moroni Agreement'.
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