Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine

Chad Dominates Franco-African Summit

The Chad problem remains unresolved despite its dominance of the 10th summit of the Head of State of France and Africa which ended in Vittel, last week.

It must however be said that the summit facilitated the opening of a dialogue between the supporters of Ndjamena and those in favour of negotiations with the Transitional Government of National Unity on the basis of equality. All the participants, including the President of Chad, Hissein Habre, spoke in favour of dialogue between Chadians and in support of the territorial integrity of Chad.

Several Heads of state expressed their views on the conflict among whom were General Gnassingbe Eyadema, founding Chairman of the Togolese People's Rally and President of the Republic, and the President of Guinea, Ahmed Sekou Toure.

President Eyadema said he knew a lot about the Chad problem because when President Hissein Habre was in opposition Togo's stance remained the same. "We have always worked to get then GUNT President, Goukouni to extend the hand of reconciliation to all the Chad leaders, in particular to President Hissein Habre. You know very well that one cannot expect to get outside help in the building of a country. When one is assisted from outside, this leads to destruction.”

"You also know of the proverb which says that when a wall has no crack, lizards cannot enter through it in the evening. The wall, at the moment, has a crack. What I mean is that the intervention of foreign forces today is a result of the leaders' differences.”

"If they were united, as all the Heads of State have been urging for a long time, if there was internal unity, they would have been able to understand one another and to look in the same direction, towards economic development. It is because the people are divided today that we are witnessing the intervention of foreign forces," President Eyadema asserted.

The Togolese President explained that during the conference they tried urgently to do everything, in conjunction with OAU efforts to find a solution so that the leaders would be able to assemble at the negotiation and reconciliation table and so that Chad would be able to find peace and stability in order to be able to think about economic development.

"This is because" as he pointed out, "though it is easy to destroy, it is not at all easy to rebuild."

Also commenting on the summit the President of Guinea, Ahmed Sekou Toure revealed that President Habre was prepared to negotiate with his Chadian brothers.

He said Mr. Hissein Habre affirmed his total availability to talk to all Chadians with a view to achieving political unity in Chad, a prerequisite for peace for the Chad people. "I must stress this as it is an unquestionable political stand. This is why Guinea asked the conference to take this call into consideration and to give the people of Chad the necessary assistance in working for reconciliation, he concluded.

President Moussa Traore of Mali also made a proposal on the Chad problem. He suggested that a meeting, with possible Algerian mediation, should be held in a neutral country between all the parties concerned.

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