Five African Heads of State, from Benin, Ivory Coast, Upper Volta, Niger and Togo, all members of the Entente Council, completed their annual summit meeting on Thursday (15 March).
Five African Heads of State, from Benin, Ivory Coast, Upper Volta, Niger and Togo, all members of the Entente Council, completed their annual summit meeting on Thursday (15 March). Their meeting this year was held in Yamoussoukro, the village where President Felix Houphouet - Boigny of the Ivory Coast was born.
SYNOPSIS: President Houphouet-Boigny, as host for the summit, led the official party to welcome each of the head of state as they flew into Abidjan on Wednesday (March 14).
Benin's President Mathieu Kerekou was the first to arrive. Before the summit began, a Council of Ministers of the member states drew up a 17-point agenda, for the leaders to discuss. It was divided into two main parts. The first dealt with common problems faced by the members, and included village water supplies, mining, tourism, Industrial reorganisation, and the exchange of information. The second main area for discussion was concerned with the broader issue of co-operation, especially on economic affairs, for the whole region.
Togo's President Gnassingbe Eyadema was the next to arrive.
The summit had added significance this year as it marked the twentieth anniversary of the founding of the Entente Council. For the welcoming ceremonies, special displays of dancing and music had been prepared in tribute to the Council, which its members say is the model for all organisations of its type on the continent.
The airliners landed within minutes of each other. President Seyni Kountche of Niger arrived next. Besides taking part in the broad discussions, he also had a series of meetings during the two day summit with President Houphouet-Boigny. They discussed bilateral problems, as well as the situation in Africa and international relations. When the summit ended on Thursday, he stayed on for further talks with the government.
The last of the Presidents to arrive was General Aboubacar Sangoule Lamizana of upper Volta. After the ceremony at the airport, the five Heads of State drove to a banquet which launched the summit in Yamoussoukro.