President Mobutu of Congo-Kinshasa and President Marien Ngouabi of Congo-Brazzaville were reconciled on board ship on the River Congo on Tuesday (16 June).
President Mobutu of Congo-Kinshasa and President Marien Ngouabi of Congo-Brazzaville were reconciled on board ship on the River Congo on Tuesday (16 June). Having signed an agreement restoring diplomatic relations, they were cheered by enthusiastic crowds on both banks afterwards.
President Bokassa of the Central African Republic, President Bongo of Gabon, and President Tombalbaye of Chad were present at the meeting.
President Mobutu and President Ngouabi also agreed to re-open the River Congo to traffic, and to restore communications.
The reconciliation came after a dramatic 12-hour meeting arranged at short notice.
The two Presidents embraced on board their floating conference venue -- then visited both banks of the mile-wide river; riding side by side, they received a rapturous welcome from the crowds.
A permanent commission with additional representatives from Chad, the Central African Republic, Gabon and Cameroun will continue to seek solutions to remaining differences. In the meantime, the two Presidents have promised to give immediate attention to security threats and to refrain from personal attacks on the radio.
The feud between the two countries came to a head in October 1968 when they broke off diplomatic relations over the execution of rebel leader Pierre Mulele, who was executed in Kinshasa after returning Brazzaville believing he had been granted an name ty. Since then, the Chad, Gabon and Central African Republic Presidents have tried, on several occasions, to mediate in the dispute. Their presence this week set the seal on their success. President Bokassa of the Central African Republic is credited with having brought about the actual meeting. A personal representative of Cameroun President Ahidjo was also present.
The agreement was signed only 18 hours before the arrival of King Baudouin of the Belgians and Queen Fabiola for the 10th Anniversary of Independence celebrations in Kinshasa on 30th June.