President Albert-Bernard Bongo of the Gabonese Republic visited the headquarters of the European Economic Community on Thursday (17 May).
GV Berlaymont building
CU Gabon flag
SCU INTERIOR President Bongo shakes hands with M. Francois Ortoli, EEC President
CU PAN FROM Bongo TO Ortoli as they walk to their seats
CU Ortoli seated
CU Bongo seated
CU & SV PAN Newsmen watch as two men walk along corridor
SCU President Bongo enters room with M. Cheyssons.
Initials ESP/1735 ESP/1746
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Background: President Albert-Bernard Bongo of the Gabonese Republic visited the headquarters of the European Economic Community on Thursday (17 May).
He was to discuss the re-negotiation of the Yaounda Convention (a pact of co-operation between 18 African states and the EEC) and the provision of said to build the Trans-Gabon railway in West Africa.
The EEC Commission President, Francois Xavier Ortoli, greeted President Bongo on his arrival at the Berlaymont commission headquarters. The two held brief informal talks before the Gabon leader went for more detailed discussions with Mr. Claude Cheyssons of France, the Commissioner responsible for relations with developing Nations.
The financing of the trans-Gabon railway line has been the subject of much recent speculation. The line was to have been largely financed by the World Bank, but it has withdrawn support. President Bongo was believed to be discussing aid from the EEC's European Development Fund.
The Commission staff has urged allocation of almost GBP10 million (25 million U.S. dollars approx.), but a final decision is not expected until June. The cost of the railway's first stage is estimated at 258 million dollars (GBP100 million sterling approx).
After his first meetings on Thursday, President Bongo predicted that the EEC would decide in favour of aid to the line and that about 150 million dollars (GBP60 million sterling approx.) would be raised privately by the consortium backing the railway.