In Dakar, the capital of Senegal, heads of state and representatives from 18 French-speaking African nations have been attending the fourth French-African summit for talks with French leaders, headed by President Valery Giscard D'Estaing.
GV EXTERIOR Conference Hall and sign.
EXTERIOR Conference Hall with flags. (2 shots)
GV Benin delegation into hall.
GV Cape Verde delegation into hall.
GV Ccmoro Islands delegate toward hall.
GV Giscard D'Estaing and President Bongo, of Gabon.
GV INTERIOR Delegates (4 shots)
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: President Senghor suggested that French-speaking countries should have regular summit meetings, on the same lines as the Commonwealth conference. The new head of state of the Congo, Colonel Joachim Yhombi Opango, did not attend the summit, because of his country's internal problems following the assassination of President Marien Ngouabi last month.
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Background: In Dakar, the capital of Senegal, heads of state and representatives from 18 French-speaking African nations have been attending the fourth French-African summit for talks with French leaders, headed by President Valery Giscard D'Estaing. The conference opened on Wednesday (20 April) and it was apparent it would be dominated by problems of defence and national security, though the two issues did not appear formally on the agenda.
SYNOPSIS: The Frenco-African meetings were originally conceived as a forum to encourage co-operation between France and its African partners. Senegal's President Leopold Senghor said the question of defence arrangements with France would be discussed bilaterally and not raised at the public sessions of the two-day conference. Most African countries previously had agreements allowing French troops on their soil, but now have military co-operation pacts, such as the one which permitted the air shuttle of Moroccan troops to Zaire, which is under rebel attack.
Finance Minister Isidore Amouzou led the Benin delegation. The former Portuguese colony of Cape Verde took part, as did the Comoro Islands, represented by Agriculture and Finance minister Ali Mlamali.
French president Valery Giscard D'Estaing, arriving with President Omar Bongo of Gabon, later pledged unlimited help, in any form, for any African country threatened by foreign attack or interference. He said he deplored the fact that Africa had been turned into a battlefield for outside rivalry, interference, and greed. Conference sources said some of the countries would seek a flexible new framework allowing them to call France for help in times of trouble. On the issue of trade with the industrialised nations, African leaders were unanimous in their criticism of the West for allowing rampant inflation, causing a deterioration in the competitiveness of African countries.