In Egypt, foreign ministers attending a meeting of the Arab League have refused to back Somalia's fight against Ethiopia.
In Egypt, foreign ministers attending a meeting of the Arab League have refused to back Somalia's fight against Ethiopia. The Somalis had presented a note to the meeting explaining their position and requesting support.
SYNOPSIS: At the League's headquarters in Cairo, the foreign ministers decided on Monday (5 September) not to take sides in the dispute over territory in southeast Ethiopia.
Instead they called on both countries to settle the dispute peacefully and adopted a resolution expressing 'deep concern over the continuing conflict on the Horn of Africa'. They also urged foreign countries to stay out of the dispute so that the people of the region could solve their own problems. Observers said this was a clear reference to the Soviet Union, which has been supporting Ethiopia both politically and militarily, Approaches would be made to the Organisation of African Unity to find a joint Solution.
The fighting between Somalia and Ethiopia has been seen as a threat to the newest member of the Arab League, the tiny East African state of Djibouti. There was a flag-raising ceremony on Monday to welcome Djibouti as the twenty-third member of the league. Both Somalia and Ethiopia have claimed territory in Djibouti, which became independent from France only three month ago. The French have kept a garrison in Djibouti to protect its independence.
According to Arab League officials Somalia has asked for support but had not sought official recognition of the Western Somalia Liberation Front, the guerrilla group fighting in southeast Ethiopia and supported by the Somali government. The guerrillas have claimed that they are trying to 'liberate' the territory from Ethiopia.
The foreign ministers decided to meet again in Tunisia in November to prepare for an Arab summit meeting.