INTRODUCTION: Leaders of five north and central African states have declared their intention to develop closer co-operation.
INTRODUCTION: Leaders of five north and central African states have declared their intention to develop closer co-operation. The announcement was made in Niamey on Monday (21 March) after a weekend summit meeting in the capital of Niger attended by the heads of state of Algeria, Chad, Mali and Niger, and the Prime Minister of Libya.
SYNOPSIS: Niger's Head of State, Lieutenant-Colonel Seyni Kountche, was at the airport to receive his guests. The President of Mali, Moussa Traore, was the first to arrive for the meeting. The agenda of the summit was not made public. But the Prime Minister of Libya, Major Abdul Salam Jalloud, told reporters that "important decisions" were reached during the meeting.
The communique, issued after the meeting, said the leaders of the five countries had agreed to intensify their efforts towards economic independence, and to work towards a new economic order.
The President of Chad, General Felix Malloum, told reporters that there was a real desire for understanding and co-operation between the states in the region.
The five leaders had now decided to meet annually, he said.
In an apparent reference to the recent events in the Congo and Zaire, the participants of the summit conference condemned political assassination. They expressed their indignation at what they called the revival of imperialist initiatives and use of mercenaries.
President Houari Boumedienne of Algeria said that the new economic order discussed by the leaders should be based on the exclusive right of each country in the region to its own natural resources.
Newspapers in Niger reported the summit meeting as marking the birth of a new economic grouping in North-Central Africa. The countries concerned realise that they can achieve their economic goals quicker through a closer co-operation, said Niger's daily 'paper "Le Sahel". Next year's summit will be in Bamako the capital of Mali.