Six years after Ethiopia was transformed into a Marxist state by a revolution that ousted the late Emperor Haile Selassie, the country continues to forge new links with the Soviet Union.
V PAN Vondo henet valley ZOOM IN TO GV birds at lake-side and flying in to shores of lake (6 shots)
SV & CU Children at school complex studying from books in Russian (4 shots)
GV PAN Landrover arriving at Shikisso settlement
CU & SV Soviet geologists and their families relaxing with Ethiopian geologist trainees (6 shots)
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Background: Six years after Ethiopia was transformed into a Marxist state by a revolution that ousted the late Emperor Haile Selassie, the country continues to forge new links with the Soviet Union. Since 1977 Ethiopia's Provisional Military Administrative Council has fought two secessionist civil wars with Soviet backing -- against the Western Somalia in the Ogaden Desert, and against Eritrean secessionists. So far, neither conflict has been resolved. In October this year Ethiopian leader Mengistu Haile Mariam paid a state visit to Moscow, and after two days of talks with Soviet president Leonid Brezhnev concluded new agreements on economic, military, and political cooperation between their two countries.
SYNOPSIS: Lake Asawa lies at the heart of the Vondo Henet valley, south of Addis Ababa. Before the revolution, Emperor Haile Selassie spent his vacations in a country home on its shores. Now his former palace has been converted into an environmental and conservation research centre. The lake is a mecca for birds and more than a thousand species nest in the valley. Soviet ornithologists are directing research into the birds' lifestyle and are conducting a census on some of the rarer groups.
A school housing 2,000 pupils is sited nearby. Soviet teachers have joined the staff and give lessons in the Russian language and other subjects. last June, Ethiopia launched a massive literacy campaign after surveys revealed 93 percent of the population were illiterate. Aid for the programme has come not only from the Soviet Union but from UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) and Western governments. The campaign aims to eradicate illiteracy within seven years.
Under the recent economic aid agreement, Soviet specialists will begin prospecting for oil and gas in Ethiopia next year, and will help in the mechanisation of the gold mining industry. Gold was discovered in Shikisso more than forty years ago, and before the revolution Western prospecting companies had begun to exploit the mines. Nearby, Soviet geologists are providing technical help in repairing abandoned equipment.