The President of the Gabonese Republic Mr. Omar Bongo, was in Paris on Monday (10?
The President of the Gabonese Republic Mr. Omar Bongo, was in Paris on Monday (10 October) to meet with President Valery Giscard d'Estaing before going on to New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly. On his arrival at the Elysee Palace, Mr. Bongo, who is also President of the Organisation of African Unity, was given a full state welcome.
SYNOPSIS: In recent years President Bongo has become one of the most influential African leaders. Since he came to power 10 years ago, Gabon has firmly aligned itself with the co-called "moderate" block of the Organisation of African Unity, and the republic's mineral-based wealth has helped make it one of the most politically stable countries in Africa. Gabon became independent from France 17 years ago. It is anxious to reduce its dependence on its former colonial masters, but retains good relations with France.
France has welcomed Gabon's increasing importance in African affairs, and Mr. Bongo's visit was treated as one of the significance.
The relationship between the two leaders seemed genial after their talks. But when he spoke to reporters, President Bongo didn't give much away. Asked about Mayotte, the Comoros island that wants to keep ties with France, Mr. Bongo said he had previously given his views to President Giscard.
So the ball was now in France's court, but the structure of the French Constitution meant Gabon would have to wait.
Reporter also asked if a referendum to help settle conflict over the possession of the Western Sahara had been discussed. They referred to Senegal President Leopold Senghor's proposal for a referendum under the triple control of the United Nations, the Organisation of African Unity, and the Arab League, to settle the claims of Mauritania, Morocco and the Algerian-backed Polisario Front. Mr. Bongo said the Organisation of African Unity had proposed a summit conference to discuss that and any decision on a referendum would have to come from there.
Mr. Bongo was to leave Paris for New York on Tuesday (11 October). He said his address at the United Nations would concern all major problems currently affecting Africa.