The two-day Ministerial Council meeting of the Organisation of African Unity ended last night (Saturday) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia -- and today African Foreign Ministers prepared to brief their governments on plans to counter Rhodesia's seizure of independence.
Conference building, Haile Selassie arriving; Secretary-General Diallo Telli (Guinea) welcoming delegates; Tanzanian, Algerian, Congo (Brazzaville), Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenyan, Liberian, Zambian, Upper Volta, Uganda, U.A.R. delegations; -- Haile Selassie speaks.
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Background: The two-day Ministerial Council meeting of the Organisation of African Unity ended last night (Saturday) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia -- and today African Foreign Ministers prepared to brief their governments on plans to counter Rhodesia's seizure of independence.
A brief communique issued at the end of talks gave no real hint of their decisions, but earlier in the conference a spokesman said the independent African States would break off relations with Britain if she does not crush the illegal Rhodesian regime by December 15. Today, African ministers were holding secret talks to discuss marshalling a joint military against Rhodesia.
The Council agreed that all their 36 member states would impose a complete blockade on Rhodesia, suspending communications and blocking accounts in African banks. Conference chairman, Mr. Kojo Botsio, of Ghana, told reporters; "Africa has decided to use every possible means, including the use of force if need be, to regain for our brothers in Rhodesia their long-lost heritage."
Mr. Botsio said the conference decisions would have far-reaching consequences. Asked whether African members of the Commonwealth would quit as a result of the decision to server relations with Britain unless the Smith regime was ousted by December 15, Mr. Botsio replied: "That is another matter. Actually, this is just the beginning."
The Algerian Foreign Minister, Mr. Abdelaziz Bouteflika, said: "We are presently discussing the use of force." Conference officials said ministers were aware of the difficulties facing the formation of a joint military force, but discussions were centering on its composition, size and the timing of operations.
In a keynote speech before Ministers went into closely-guarded sessions, Emperor Haile Selassie, of Ethiopia, told the conference: "In this hour of trial for the continent of Africa, all Africans should sink their minor differences and unite their efforts to rescue their Zimbabwe (Rhodesian African) brethren, whose rights... have been trampled upon by a settler minority racist regime, which has illegally seized power in defiance of world public opinion." The Ministers' meeting was held in a conference hall where the Organisation of African Unity (O.A.U.) itself was born 2 1/2- years ago.