Zaire's President Mobutu Sese Seko has said that France restrained his country from using napalm against invaders of Zaire's southern province of Shaba earlier this year.
SV Elysee Palace, Paris, France
MV President Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire being greeted by President Valery Giscard d'Estaing
CU Zaire flag
MCU President Mobutu making statement to press
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Background: Zaire's President Mobutu Sese Seko has said that France restrained his country from using napalm against invaders of Zaire's southern province of Shaba earlier this year. President Mobutu -- on an official visit to France -- made his statement in Paris on Thursday (9 June) after a meeting with the French President, Valery Giscard d'Estaing.
SYNOPSIS: The meeting between the two Presidents at the Elysee Palace was the first since the invasion of Shaba which began in March. Shaba -- formerly Katanga -- is a mineral-rich province. President Mobutu said the invading forces were from Angola and backed by the Soviet Union, East Germany and Cuba. All three countries denied the allegations but President Mobutu broke off diplomatic relations with the East Germans and Cubans.
President Mobutu said in Paris that it was only the intervention of President Giscard d'Estaing once again that prevented Zaire from breaking its ties with the Soviet Union. France and Belgium rushed arms to Zaire as soon as the invaders were reported to have entered Shaba. The French also air-lifted Moroccan military equipment to Zaire. Morocco itself sent 15-hundred troops. There were allegations that France had sent forces to assist President Mobutu but these charges were denied by the French leader.
However, France did admit it had sent military advisers to Zaire. It was these, according to President Mobutu, who advised his army against the use of napalm. The Zairean leader said that President Giscard d'Estaing had sent his Ambassador to reinforce the advice and Zaire destroyed its entire stock of napalm. President Mobutu told newsmen that he wanted to send forces across the border as what he celled a punishment to Angola. He said his country had the right of pursuit and was not concerned for the consequences. But the French leader asked Zaire to stop its army at the border, and, President Mobutu added, Zaire again followed his advice.