INTRODUCTION: The President of Senegal, Monsieur Abdo Diouf, met President Francois Mitterrand in Paris on Thursday (3 September).
SV Senegalese President Abdo Diouf and President Mitterrand at Elysee Palace.
SCU Abdo speaking in French.
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Background: INTRODUCTION: The President of Senegal, Monsieur Abdo Diouf, met President Francois Mitterrand in Paris on Thursday (3 September). The two leaders discussed a number of topics, including the proposed confederation of Senegal and its neighbour, Gambia.
SYNOPSIS: It was President Diouf's first visit to France since he became head of Senegal last January. France has maintained strong links with her old colony, and last month agreed to lend Senegal more than 20 million U.S. dollars to help build a dam.
Afterwards, at a news conference, he was asked about the proposal to merge his country with Gambia. This plan emerged after Senegalese troops helped to quash an attempted coup in Gambia in July. The President said he had informed President Mitterrand about the proposal and the discussions which were taking place to bring it into effect. He said France would be informed when the confederation was actually being formed.
Asked about Senegal's attitude to the South African action in Angola, M. Diouf said his country condemned the raid. His country had recently recognised Angola as a sovereign state, and, M. Diouf added, it was totally indefensible for the South Africans to continue such raids into Angola. President Diouf said his country was anxious to maintain its existing good relations with France. He said he had discussed with President Mitterrand the problems of Senegal, and its future prospects. Last year, French aid to Senegal amounted to 221 million US dollars (110 million pounds Sterling), and this year a larger amount could be needed because of the poor crop of groundnuts, the country's main export.