Liberian President William Tolbert, current Chairman of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) said on Wednesday (12 December) an independent Rhodesia would be welcome to join the organisation.
GV ZOOM/SV: Dr. William Tolbert President of Liberia sitting before news conference
SV: President Tolbert speaking in English
SV/GV: Reporters seated at news conference.
SCU/PAN: Reporters listening as President Tolbert speaks SV of Tolbert speaking (3 shots)
TRANSCRIPT: SEQ. 2: TOLBERT: "Some months ago, we had a riot in Monrovia when hooligans, possibly inspired by events in other parts of the world, took advantages of a political demonstration to attack peaceful citizens, loot homes and stores and attempt to destabilise our government. But, order was quickly restored though forty precious lives were unfortunately lost during the disturbance. However, the organisers of that demonstration -- charged criminals before the laws of our land -- were granted amnesty and are now free, enjoying all the political and human rights of Liberian citizens, including the right to form and manage their own political organisation and to use their headquarters for that purpose with expressed provision by government that they operate within the limits of the laws of Liberia."
TOLBERT: "We are gratified to see that the London Conference on Zimbabwe has reached agreement in principle on the restoration of legality with a view to fair elections, equal treatment for all armed forces and the establishment of genuine majority rule in that country. While we are encouraged by this progress, I feel I must make it crystal clear that under no circumstances will Africa settle for anything less than genuine majority rule in Zimbabwe and that we shall also pursue, unremittingly the goal of majority rule in Namibia and the elimination of apartheid in the Republic of South Africa. Indeed with persistency and consistency we will continue the struggle until the whole of our continent is entirely free from racial discrimination, oppression and exploitation."
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Background: Liberian President William Tolbert, current Chairman of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) said on Wednesday (12 December) an independent Rhodesia would be welcome to join the organisation. He was speaking in London at the end of a three day visit during which he held talks with the British government and Patriotic Front Guerrilla leaders Robert Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo. He said he had not tried to be a mediator at the peace talks but had made some suggestions and urged accommodation and flexibility in the negotiations. At the beginning of his news conference Dr. Tolbert referred to riots which broke out in Liberia earlier this year after a government minister suggested the cost of rice be increased. The president said then that he felt the riots were part of an attempt to overthrow his government.
SYNOPSIS: Dr Tolbert spoke to newsmen about the April disturbances in which forty people lost their lives.
Dr. Tolbert went on to comment on the London talks on Rhodesia. He said he was confident a full agreement would be reached soon.