Ethiopian head of state Mengistu Haile Mariam has conferred with Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev on ways of strengthening ties between their countries and settling the conflict on the Horn of Africa.
SV Soviet and Ethiopian flags flying at Moscow airport
SV PAN Ethiopian aircraft arriving
SV PAN Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev greeting Lt-Col Mengistu Haile Mariam, Ethiopian head of state (2 shots)
SV PAN Brezhnev and Mengistu walking from aircraft and waving to crowds (3 shots)
SV Rome: Eritrean Peoples' Liberation Front director Ramadah Mohamed Nur speaking in English at news conference
NUR: "The scorched-carth policy in (indistinct), the preparations are being made to spread the programme throughout the countryside. Such a savage crime will undoubtedly lead to a tremendous loss of lives and human hardship in Eritrea. We thus call on all democratic and peace-loving countries, and organisations throughout the world, to intensify their condemnation of such barbaric acts against our people, and press for a democratic, political solution that recognises the right of the Eritrean people to self-determination."
Mr. Nur said Ethiopia's fresh offensive would include massive bombardments, and that the Ethiopians were preparing to spray defoliants through the Eritrean countryside.
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Background: Ethiopian head of state Mengistu Haile Mariam has conferred with Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev on ways of strengthening ties between their countries and settling the conflict on the Horn of Africa. Meanwhile, in Rome, a leader of the separatist guerrilla forces, which have been opposing Ethiopian ruling authorities for many years, has claimed Ethiopia was preparing another offensive that included heavy bombing the defoliation in Eritrea.
SYNOPSIS: Soviet and Ethiopian flags flew side by side when Colonel Mengistu's party arrived at Moscow airport on Thursday (16 November). Mr Brezhnev led the welcoming committee of Soviet leaders. The Soviet Union was Ethiopia's major benefactor in their success in driving Somali forces from the Ogaden desert earlier this year. Ethiopian government forces had an estimated billion dollars worth of Soviet military hardware, plus the help of some fifteen thousand Cuban troops in overcoming the Somalis. Tass, the official Soviet news agency reported that the two leaders confirmed their resolve to press for political settlement in the area based on renunciation of territorial claims.
Western diplomats say they believe Colonel Mengistu's main reason for visiting Moscow was to seek Soviet economic help in rebuilding Ethiopia's battered economy, and that he briefed Mr. Brezhnev on the Eritrean situation. Mr. Brezhnev on the Eritrean situation. The same day, in Rome, a director of the Eritrean Peoples' Liberation Front(EPLF), Mr Ramadah Mohamed Nur, spoke of a new Ethiopian offensive.