Following a Cabinet Meeting held under the presidency of the Head of State a communiqué published on Wednesday (May 8th) announced:

"The Government of Gabon expresses its very deep sympathy to the people of Biafra and decided as a result to recognise Biafra as an independent state that must enjoy its international recognition."

(Earlier, the communiqué published by the Gabonese Government had stated);

"The Government of Gabon reaffirms its faith in African unity, unity which runs the risk of affecting the war being waged against Biafra.

Strengthened by its own experience and the failure recorded in Africa and elsewhere in all attempts at an imposed political regrouping;

"confirmed further by its faith in the sacred principles of humanity and justice;

"convinced that this African unity can only be realised in peace, fraternity and respect of the self-determination of the peoples;

"the Government of Gabon deplores the human tragedy that has befallen the Ibo people and denounces the bloody and fratricidal war which is ravaging a portion of the African land."

After a close examination of the situation, the Council of Ministers stated:

"That federal groupings inherited from colonisation, or imposed by force, have not been shown from experience to be viable.

"This has been the case with the Federation of Mali, the Ghana-Guinea-Mali Union, the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, the United Arab Republic, the Union between Great Britain and Ireland, to name only the above which have known nothing but a very ephemeral and entirely relative existence. The only exception is the Federal Republic of the Camerouns established as result of referendum of the people which gave rise to the union of British South Cameroun and the Republic of Cameroun.

"In the case of Nigeria, the Council of Ministers thinks that the military junta which overthrew the civilian Federal regime has imposed by force an unitary structure in total disregard of well-known rights of the federated states as recognised by the Constitution. There followed the massacres of the Ibos in the Northern provinces, massacres which led to the mass return of the latter to the region they considered their fatherland so as to organise their self-defence and safeguard their right to existence.

"Faced with this situation, the Government of Lagos reacted in the manner everyone knows by perpetrating a real genocide with the aim of wiping out the State of Biafra and the Ibo people.

"Taking into account the atrocities committed with equipment and men supplied by foreign powers, the Government of Gabon considers that the Biafran drama has ceased to be an internal Nigerian problem and should force all African countries to take a stand without equivocation.

"The Republic of Gabon could therefore not maintain a guilty indifference in the face of the pogrom organised against fourteen mullion Africans, a pogrom which defies the conscience of all men whose unassailable rights are proclaimed in the United Nations Charter."

and the communiqué ends:

"When one thinks that in an absolutely unequal fight, hundreds of thousands of innocent civilian, women, old men and children, are condemned to buy, with their lives, the right to existence to which all men are entitled, the Government and the people of Gabon could not without hypocrisy take refuge behind the principle of the so-called no-interference in the internal affairs of another country."