French President, Valery Giscard d'Estaing, has proposed a new international grouping that will link West Europe to the Arab and African worlds - thus countering the two superpowers, the Soviet Union and the United States.
French President, Valery Giscard d'Estaing, has proposed a new international grouping that will link West Europe to the Arab and African worlds - thus countering the two superpowers, the Soviet Union and the United States. Speaking at a state banquet in Sudan on Wednesday (23 May), he said his initiative had the support of other European leaders. His host, Sudanese President, Jaafar Nimeiri - the current chairman of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) - has given the proposal his support.
SYNOPSIS: The French President and Madame Giscard arrived in Khartoum on Wednesday morning. They flew in from Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, where president Giscard attended the Franco-African conference. President Nimeiri welcomed their French guests, who were to stay for one day before returning to Paris. It was the first time a French head of State had visited Sudan.
President Nimeiri has long been promoting tripartite talks between Europe, Africa and the Middle East. In a recent interview, he suggested linking European technology with African raw-materials and Arabian petro-dollars. In his capacity as chairman of the OAU, President Nimeiri said he would do his best to sell this idea to other member countries.
President Giscard's dinner speech dealt with the same subject. He said European, African and Arab co-operation arose from a natural constellation of countries. This tripartite grouping was not a matter of hierarchy, but of equality. It would not serve to divide, but to unite. He said the European Economic Community, the Organisation of African unity and the Arab League were not blocs, but families of nations.
President Giscard suggested that European, African and Arab countries should give priority to countering the world's superpowers. He said their co-operation would not just grow from common interests, but also from profound solidarity, from geographical, historical and cultural reasons.
The Mediterranean, he said, had served as a vehicle for ideas, products as human beings, but now it was time that bi-lateral relations were surpassed by three-sided discussions.