The Organisation of African Unity's emergency summit meeting on Angola opened in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Saturday (10 January) in the Africa Hall.
The Organisation of African Unity's emergency summit meeting on Angola opened in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Saturday (10 January) in the Africa Hall. About fifteen heads-of-state of the 46 member-states of the Organisation attended the meeting.
The member countries appeared to be almost equally divided on the crucial question of whether or not to formally recognise the Soviet-backed Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) as the official government of Angola, or to remain neutral in the conflict. About 22 of the member countries are believed to support the MPLA, while an equivalent number are believed to support the coalition between the National Front for the Liberation of Angola (FNLA) and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA).
At the opening session of the summit meeting, the Organisation's Chairman, President Idi Amin of Uganda, defended the presence in the hall of the leaders of the two anti-MPLA factions - Mr. Holden Roberto of FNLA and Jonas Savimbi of UNITA.
President Amin told the conference "I invited them on your behalf as equals. We have not come here to criticise each other. We have come here to find a solution to the problem of Angola".
Dr. Agostinho Neto, the leader of the MPLA, was not present at the meeting.
The Angolan problem presents the OAU with its hardest challenge to date, and some African leaders fear that it could split the Organisation irrevocably.
Among the African leaders who were present at the first session, were President Jean-Bedel Bokassa of the Central African Republic, President Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia, President Leopold Sedar Senghor of Senegal, president Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, President Mohamed Siad Barre of Somalia, President Samora Machel of Mozambique, President Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire and Brigadier-General Teferi Benti of Ethiopia.
SYNOPSIS: The opening session of the Organisation of African Unity's summit meeting on Angola opened at Africa Hall in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Saturday. Among the heads-of-state who arrived for the inaugural session was President Jean-Bedel Bokassa of the Central African Republic.
The conference opened with the forty-six member-states almost equally divided on the crucial question of whether to formally recognise the Soviet-backed MPLA as the Angolan Government, or to remain natural in the civil war. President Julius Nyerere of Tanzania is a strong supporter of the MPLA.
Somalia, led by President Mohamed Siad Barre, is another of the twenty-two countries backing the MPLA. But an equal number of countries support the opposing coalition in Angola of UNITA and the FNLA. The issue is the most serious one the Organisation has ever faced, and many African leaders are afraid of an irrevocable split.
During the opening session, President Amin of Uganda, the Organisation's Chairman, defended the presence of the leaders of the anti-MPLA movements - Mr. Holden Roberto of the FNLA, in glasses, and Dr. Jonas Savimbi of UNITA.