Representatives of Federal Nigeria and Biafra had their first talks in Niamey, Niger, today (Saturday) on the convening of a new peace conference.
Ojukwu and Nigerian representatives in Niamey (SHOT 19TH; Haile Selassie leaves Niamey (SHOT 20TH).
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Background: Representatives of Federal Nigeria and Biafra had their first talks in Niamey, Niger, today (Saturday) on the convening of a new peace conference. The talks followed yesterday's agreement between General Gowon and Biafran leader, Colonel Ojukwu, for fresh negotiations. The peace conference is scheduled to be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The agreement between General Gowon and Colonel Ojukwu came at the end of a conference of the six-nation Organisation of African Unity committee on Nigeria. The conference was held to discuss ways of ending Nigeria's year old civil war.
Colonel Ojukwu, dressed in camouflaged fatigues and a cockcaded cap, flew into Niamey on Thursday, one day after General Gowon. The bearded Biafran leader has put forward a three point plan which he says will achieve a lasting peace in Nigeria. He wants an immediate cessation of fighting, the removal of Nigeria's economic blockade against Biafra and the withdrawal of troops behind the pre-war boundaries. This would enable refugees to return to their homes.
Nigeria's conditions for peace have been that it will grant a cease-fire only when Biafra renounces secession. The peace talks in Kampala, Uganda, between the two sides last May broke down on this point.
The emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie, left Niamey for Addis Ababa today, shortly after Colonel Ojukwu had left for home. The emperor will be hose for the new peace talks. No date has yet been set for the start of the negotiations but the CAU communique issued in Niamey said that they would be held as soon as possible.
The six nation OAU committee on Nigeria which met in Niamey comprised heads of state or senior representatives of Ethiopia, Niger, Cameroun, Ghana, Congo-Kinshasa and Liberia.