INTRODUCTION: Talks are now underway between soviet President Nikolai Podgorny and President Julius Nyerere of Tanzania.
INTRODUCTION: Talks are now underway between soviet President Nikolai Podgorny and President Julius Nyerere of Tanzania. The soviet leader is spearheading a major Russian diplomatic offensive in southern Africa. He is the first senior Kremlin official to visit there. Mr Podgorny arrived in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday (23 March) from northern Tanzania, where he stopped overnight after flying from Moscow.
SYNOPSIS: Thousands of Tanzanians were at Dar Es Salaam airport for the Soviet leader's arrival. Local authorities laid on special transport for the occasion.
The soviet leader is being accompanied by 120 officials an unusually large delegation. He was warmly greeted by President Nyerere at the start of his four-day visit. Talks in Mozambique and Zambia are to follow - coinciding with an extensive African tour by cuban leader Fidel Castro.
There were several groups of tribal dancers and singers to entertain the Soviet visitor. Dressed rather unsuitably in a heavy suit, Mr Podgorny must have envied the more causal attire of the dancers. Dr. Castro seems to be preparing the ground for his powerful ally -- he left Tanzania for Mozambique on Monday (21 March). Mr. Podgorny's trip is seen as a major attempt by the Soviet Union to counter Western diplomatic activity in southern African, and to consolidate Moscow's own prestige and influence in the area. In a press statement issued at the airport Mr. Podgorny said that the Soviet Union was not seeking military bases nor special privileges in Africa.
Among the crowd was a large contingent from the Soviet Embassy in Dar Es Salaam, waving banners in Swahili. The two leaders were driven from the airport in that symbol of capitalist wealth, a Rolls Royce. The official talks programme began soon after Mr Podgorny's arrival.