Des interviews exclusives de Dja-Apharou ISSA IBRAHIM, ami et confident de Jacques Baulin, responsable par donation de l’intégralité des documents constituant le fond, et président de l’association sont actuellement publiées dans la rubrique présentation.
Les trois ouvrages de J. Baulin : Conseiller du président Diori, La politique africaine d’Houphouët-Boigny et La politique intérieure d’Houphouët-Boigny seront disponibles sur le site en version iBook et en version Pdf dès septembre 2009.
One of the foremost themes of the President of Niger , El Hadji Hamani Diori , whenever i have met him in the past , has been the need for co-operation and ulttimately unity between English-speaking and French-speaking Africa .
Like President Senghor, he deplores the rivalries of the ex-colonial powers on Africa , and resists the idea that any differences between Britain and France should find reflection there . He has himself positively declared his support for Btitish entry this would have on co-operation in Africa .
As I talced to him his hotel room over the Palace of Westminister , the President benign , accessible and franc , englarged on this theme in the context of regional
He stressed that the objective of a common market in West Africa though the 14-nation grouping coid only progress slowly , because of different currencies , tariff , tax and legal systems , and different foreign commitments . Although the Entente was represents at the Monrovia summit a year ago by Upper Volta , he and other colleagues had not gone because they felt that the problems of the grouping should have been properly worked out before taking the matter to summit level : « You don’t go to a conference for the pleasure of going . » He saw unity in the francophone states : after that should come the integration of French and English-speaking countries . In the meantime , however , co-operation could proceed in for example , telecommunications , transport , health and cultural exchanges .
On the Nigerian crisis , he said that the OAU Consultative Committee of which he is a member , is meeting , in principle , in Monrovia on April 17 and 18 . « We were very disappointed that the talks last year came to nothing » , he said reminding me that preliminary talks in Niamey , Niger’s capital , just July , had been the only time General Gowon and Col . Ojukwu had both been persuaded to attend , even if not together . This had been arranged with thehelp of « my friends President Houphouet-Boigny and President Bongo » , with whom his relations were still very had recognised Biafra . He understood their act of recognition had been an « act of concience » to alert world opinion to the fratricidal struggle , and the mesasure which they thought would help bring a solution to the problem. « This is not my point of view . We can alert world opinion without going as far as recognition . » Niger, said the President , was particulary anixious for the war to end because of the side-effects it was to end because of the side-effects it was having on the Niger economy . Although the Nigerians
had done everything to help , difficulties were being experienced in evacuation of produce , notably groundnuits ; Niger had had difficulty in meeting advance commitments to European buyers . The difficulties of conversion of the Nigerian pound had caused trade problems , because the Nigerians were unable to pay in cach for the goods they bought ; Niger’s revenue from the cattle trade had especially suffered . This , he told me , was also affected by competition from Chad , which has lost its Eastern Nigerian market . There was a serious black market in Nigerian currency , which had been de facto devalued. The shortage of medical supplies in Nigeria’s northern states meant an increasing strain on Niger’s health services , he added.
Lastly , when I asced him about the apparent difficulties in tha negotiations for the renewal of the Yaounde Convention (see report on page 380) , he assured me that it was only a question of negotiating techniques . The difficulties were was still confident that agreement would be reached before May 31. K.W.
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