W. Africans to cut trade barriers
West African leaders agreed Wednesday on a series of measures to eliminate trade barriers among 16 countries of the region starting next year. The decision came at the end of a two-day summit of the 16-nation Economic Community of West African States.Skip to next paragraph
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Liberia, one of the 16 member nations, was not allowed to attend the conference after other African leaders objected to the presence here of the country's new military ruler, M/Sgt. Samuel K. Doe, who arrived uninvited and unannounced, in full combat dress with pistols at his hips. Liberia's seat was carried out of the chamber and its flag taken down. Sergeant Doe flew home Wednesday without being given a hearing.
Conference delegates said the snub was directed personally at Sergeant Doe because of coup he led in Liberia last month in which President William Tolbert and 13 ministers and aides were killed. A final communique said a committee would review the situation in Liberia.
The communique also said a proposed defense pact for the 16 nations was shelved for a year. Conference sources said four socialist countries of the region with close ties with the Soviet Union -- Benin, Mali, Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde -- objected to the pact, under which signatories would be committed to come to one another's aid in case of external aggression.