The annual summit of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) opened in the Liberian capital of Monrovia on Tuesday (17 July), with an agreement not to condemn a member-nation, Egypt, for signing the Middle East Peace Treaty with Israel.
The annual summit of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) opened in the Liberian capital of Monrovia on Tuesday (17 July), with an agreement not to condemn a member-nation, Egypt, for signing the Middle East Peace Treaty with Israel. On the eve of the conference, foreign ministers of the 49 OAU states adopted resolutions on the Middle East and Palestine. But they made no move to condemn Egypt's t???ty. However, there was a strong call for taking the peace process further with respect for the rights of the Palestinians.
SYNOPSIS: Most of the heads of state arrived in Monrovia on Monday (16 July), leaving the usually quiet airport at Roberts Field overcrowded with jets and security men. There was a warm welcome for Sudanese President Jaafar Nimeiri, the outgoing OAU chairman. He was greeted by William Tolbert, President of the host country, Liberia. And both men received the traditional bouquet of flowers.
The enthusiastic turn-out at the airport meant that the Sudanese President was slightly delayed in attending several pre-conference briefings. He later held urgent discussions with President Nyerere of Tanzania. It was reported that President Nimeiri was anxious to discuss what Sudan regards as Tanzanian-inspired repression of Uganda's minority Moslem population after the recent war between Uganda and the Tanzanian-led invasion force. But before this meeting, President Nimeiri talked with the Liberian President at the airport terminal.
Liberia had expected a record number of thirty seven African leaders to attend the summit. But by Monday evening (16 July) only about twenty had arrived.
One of these was the President of the Seychelles, Albert Rene, who was also met by President Tolbert. Mr. Rene is expected to play an important role in an attempt by the OAU to end the three-year war in the Western Sahara. Soon after gaining power two years ago he recognised the Polisario Front, fighting for independence in the Sahara.
The airport festivities disguised the hard task ahead of the African leaders when they discuss the continent's other major trouble-spot -- Zimbabwe Rhodesia. And one of the leaders venerable to the southern African crisis is Chief Leabua Jonathan, Prime Minister of Lesotho, which is surrounded by South Africa.
The leaders are expected to accept a recommendation calling for the stepping up of the guerrilla war against Bishop Abel Muzorewa's Government. But some nations want negotiations involving the Bishop and Zaire has proposed a new round table conference on Zimbabwe Rhodesia.