Emperor Bokassa of the Central African Empire arrived in Gabon on Monday (19 December) to attend an economic conference with other African heads of states.
Emperor Bokassa of the Central African Empire arrived in Gabon on Monday (19 December) to attend an economic conference with other African heads of states. They are members of the Union Douaniere et Economique de l'Afrique Centrale (UDEAC).
SYNOPSIS: For the Emperor, who was greeted by Gabonese President Omar Bongo, it was his first foreign trip since he crowned himself at a spectacular ceremony in Bangui last month. Other African leaders attending the 13th meeting of UDEAC included President Yhombi-Opango of the Congo and Ahmadou Ahidjo of Cameroun.
At the conference in the capital of Libreville President Bongo criticised the attitude of rich nations towards the Third World, particularly in the areas of aid programmes and payment for raw material. He revealed that Gabon was having difficulty repaying its foreign debts and needed more time to meet its commitments.
Official French estimates put the country's total foreign debt in April 1977 at six billion French francs (1.2 billion U.S. dollars). Gabon is an oil-producing nation belonging to the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
One of the main topics at the conference concerned maritime and air transport, which has caused serious problems between the Congo and Central African Empire. Relations between the two countries have been strained since the Congo nationalised its ports of Pointe-Noire and Brazzaville-a step attacked by the Prime Minister of the Central African Empire.
The Empire, which is landlocked, depends on the Congo's ports to export its products. Prime Minister Ange Patasse alleged nationalisation was contrary to undertakings made by countries in the region to uphold free maritime movement.