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Tanzania -- Foreign Relations

Since independence, Tanzania has sought to follow a policy of non-alignment. During his administration the first president, Nyerere (1961-85), charted a course between the Eastern and Western blocs. Nevertheless, he supported African majority rule in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Angola, Namibia, and South Africa. Since the early 1960s, Tanzania has been the headquarters for many southern African liberation movements. Yet Nyerere has always emphasized that human rights and a nonracial policy were requisites for any viable political solution for southern Africa.

Within East Africa itself, the overthrow of President Milton Obote of Uganda in January 1971 created difficult diplomatic problems for Tanzania. Nyerere refused to recognize the military regime of Idi Amin, and he gave Obote asylum in Tanzania. This led to tension between the two countries. In late 1972 a force of pro-Obote exiles invaded Uganda from Tanzania. They were defeated, and Amin launched air strikes on Tanzanian towns south of the border and again in late 1978. Tanzania repelled the strikes and invaded Uganda, Amin to flee. As a result, Amin's regime collapsed, but this victory proved costly since Tanzanian soldiers remained in Uganda for some three years following Amin's downfall.Tanzania continues to play a leading role in African affairs. President Nyerere gained the reputation as an eloquent and respected statesman not only in Africa but in the Third World as a whole. Nevertheless, several factors have combined to reduce Tanzania's influence and standing in African affairs. These include the collapse of the Soviet Union and the democratization of South Africa.

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