Liberian President William Tolbert opened the annual Organisation of African Unity (OAU) conference with a bitter condemnation of the black-led government in Zimbabwe Rhodesia.
Liberian President William Tolbert opened the annual Organisation of African Unity (OAU) conference with a bitter condemnation of the black-led government in Zimbabwe Rhodesia. He also urged member states to form a pan-African force to prevent future hostilities.
SYNOPSIS: Since its inception in 1963 member states of the OAU meet each year in different African capitals to discuss various problems that have arisen during the past 12 months. The broad aims of the OAU are to promote unity and solidarity, to improve living standards of african people, to eradicate all forms of colonialism on the continent, to promote international co-operation and to defend the sovereignty and independence of member states. Critics of the OAU point out that although it provides a forum for discussion it lacks the teeth to enforce its decisions. Furthermore by its own charter the OAU finds itself unable to intervene in the internal politics of any member state as this would contravene sovereignty and territorial integrity. However Liberian President Tolbert, urged member states to consider creating "ad hoc action machinery including a pan-african force which will prevent the eruption of hostilities, stop actions, of confrontation and isolate our brothers, sisters and children from unnecessary destruction.
Yet even while he was talking the chairs of two countries involved in internal african wars - Chad and Libya were vacant. Two rival Chad delegations flew to the conference. One was led by the Foreign Minister of President Caw's government and the other included representatives of the pro-Libyan faction. their respective credentials were discussed at length in the first of a stormy series of debates.
President Tolbert also led a bitter attack on the government of Zimbabwe Rhodesia. He said the principle of one-man one-vote had been contemptuously mocked and called for increased political, military and diplomatic aid for the patriotic front guerrillas to intensify their war against the Salisbury government.