It is an almost forgotten footnote in history, but this month African leaders gathered to commemorate the Brazzaville Protocol.
It was a peace agreement signed 25 years ago in terms of which Cuban troops were withdrawn from Angola and the white South African regime ended what had been open warfare against neighbouring black-ruled states.
We are a country under construction ... We have a young, dynamic and educated population, we have important natural resources and a privileged situation in the region. We believe our country is under full development.
Little more than a year after the protocol was signed Namibia gained independence, Nelson Mandela was released from prison and the final domino fell with the election of a democratic non-racial government in South Africa.
When the Brazzaville Protocol was signed Jacob Zuma was the intelligence chief of the Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) guerrilla movement living in exile in Angola; now, he is president of South Africa.
Denis Sassou N’Guesso signed the protocol at the end of 1988 as president of the Republic of Congo. Within two years he was driven from power, only to return as president after a bitter civil war.
Since then he has successfully contested two sets of elections which were ruled as free and fair even in the face of a mass opposition boycott of both processes.
Despite serious concerns about corruption in the country, President N’Guesso has nevertheless retained power, and insists he maintains popular support even though more than half of the country’s population lives on just over a dollar a day.
He continues to have the strong backing of the country’s former colonial ruler, France, and other international powers, and in the past decade has presided over an economic boom in the Republic of Congo.
On this edition, Denis Sassou N’Guesso sits down to talk to Al Jazeera in the capital Brazzaville, where the agreement that changed the face of the continent was signed.
|Talk to Al Jazeera can be seen each week at the following times GMT: Saturday: 0430 and 1930; Sunday: 1930; Monday: 1430 .|