The 15th summit conference of the Organisation of African Unity opened in Khartoum on Tuesday -- (18 July faced with the divisive issue of the role of French and Cuban forces in several African conflicts.
The 15th summit conference of the Organisation of African Unity opened in Khartoum on Tuesday -- (18 July faced with the divisive issue of the role of French and Cuban forces in several African conflicts. A more promising note has been struck with the possible reconciliation of Zaire and Angola, at odds since the civil was which followed Angolan independence from Portugal. The President of both countries are at the summit, and the OAU is to set up a commission to supervise a return to normal relations between them. The commission is also expected to oversee the repair and re-opening of the Benguela Railway, which carried copper from Zambia and Zaire to the Angolan Atlantic port of Lobito until it was closed in 1975.
SYNOPSIS: Most delegates arrived at Khartoum Airport on Monday (17 July) where they were greeted by Sudan's President Ja'afar al-Nimeiri, the new Chairman of the OAU for the next 12 months.
President France Albert Rane of the Seychelles was welcomed by President Nimeiri??? and to inspect the military guard of honour. An important item on the agenda for President Felix Malloum of Chad will be the role of foreign troops in African disputes. His government now relies heavily on the support of an estimated one thousand French troops, called in to halt the advance of Libyan-backed Frolinat rebels who pushed to within one hundred miles of the country's capital, Ndjamena, in the latest flare-up of Chad's twelve-year-old civil war.
President Malloum has already rejected peace proposals based on the withdrawal of the French forces. President Hassan Gouled of Djibouti was also greeted by President Nimeiri. President Gouled has made it clear his country would welcome the Headquarters of the OAU if proposals to move from Addis Ababa are raised again at this week's conference. This issue is expected to be brought up late in the conference, and President Gouled may get the support of President Nimeiri and President Mohamed Said Barre of Somalia, who have both previously backed similar motions. The Ethiopian government, however, opposes the idea.
President Mobuto Sese Seko of Zaire came along prepared to negotiate with Angolan President Antonio Agostinho Neto for a settlement of their lang-standing conflict. Diplomatic sources say Zaire has asked for Sudan to take part in the proposed OAU commission to supervise to return to normal relations, and President Nimeiri is expected to agree to the request. Kenyan Vice-President Daniel Arap Moi will focus on those topics calling for economic stability among African nations, and a united attack on poverty. As Head of one of the most stable African states, Kenyan President Jomo Kenyatta was able earlier this year to present a five-year plan aimed principally at reducing poverty in his country. President Samora Machel of Mozambique is another leader directly involved in the talks on foreign military involvement. Mozambique receives military aid from both Cuba and the Soviet Union, and there are an estimated five hundred Cuban military advisors in the country.
Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere arrived after a stopover in Addis Ababa for talks with Ethiopian leader, Lieutenant Colonel Haile Mariam Mengistu. According to Reuters news agency, the two leaders discussed developments in yet another dispute involving foreign troops -- the battle between Cuban-backed Ethiopian troops and Somali guerrillas in the Ogaden region. President Agostinho Neto of Angola will be deeply involved during the summit in talks with President Mobutu over the reconciliation of their two countries, and also in talks on foreign involvement???possibly the most controversial item on the conference agenda.