President Mohammed Siad Barre of Somalia has been making a tour of Arab League countries in an effort to get their support for Somalia in the war against Ethiopia.
GV: President Mohammed Siad Barre of Somalia arrives at President's Palace in Damascus, Syria.
SV: President Barre and President Assad of Syria get out of car and walking into Palace.
SV AND CU INTERIOR: President Barre (seated left) and President Assad seated talking. (2 shots)
GV: guest palace
SV INTERIOR: both president seated talking. (2 shots)
Somalia's Soviet arms supplies have been drying up since last April. It was then that the Ethiopian regime headed by Colonel Mengistu expelled the United States military assistance group after President Carter's decision to cut military aid because of alleged human rightS violations. The Ethiopian leader then turned to the Soviet Union and promptly signed an agreement for military replacements. An attempt by the Somali President to do the same failed and relations between the two countries since then have remained cool.
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Background: President Mohammed Siad Barre of Somalia has been making a tour of Arab League countries in an effort to get their support for Somalia in the war against Ethiopia.
SYNOPSIS: On Thursday (15 September), President Siad arrived in Damascus for talks with the Syrian leader Hafez Al-Assad.
President Siad has already been to Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Diplomatic sources in Mogadishu said Somalia is seeking supplies from fellow members of the Arab Leaque. Soviet shipments to the Somali army had decreased since the outbreak of the war.
During his four hours of talks with President Assad, the Somali leader discussed possible Syrian support for the Somali war effort. Outside of Eastern Europe, military observers believe Egypt and Syria to have the world's largest stockpile of Soviet weapons and spare parts. Access to these would be a major boost to the Somalis, who are currently engaged in heavy fighting for the strategic Ethiopian tank and radar base at Jijiga in the Ogaden.
After a short rest at President Assad's guest palace, the Somali leader had a further round of talks before going on to Kuwait. Support for Somalia from Arab League countries has been spurred by recent reports that Israeli aircraft have been seen airlifting supplies to Ethiopia to bolster the regime of Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam.