Syrian President Hafez al-Assad met leaders of the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF) in Damascus on Saturday (15 November) for talks on ending their 19-year guerrilla war against Ethiopia, which now has a Soviet-backed Ethiopian military government.
GV EXTERIOR Street scene in Damascus, Syria.
CU PAN INTERIOR Syrian President Hafez al-Assad seated with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, with Syrian Foreign Minister Abdel-Halim Khaddam watching.
GV EXTERIOR Presidential house.
SV & CU INTERIOR President Assad seated talking with Chief of Executive Committee of Eritrean Liberation Front, Ahmad Naser. (2 SHOTS)
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Background: Syrian President Hafez al-Assad met leaders of the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF) in Damascus on Saturday (15 November) for talks on ending their 19-year guerrilla war against Ethiopia, which now has a Soviet-backed Ethiopian military government. Earlier this month, the ELF denied reports that it was holding secret talks with soviet and Ethiopian officials in Damascus and seeking a compromise solution to the conflict. On Monday (17 November), President Assad received Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal, and debated whether there should be a full-scale Arab Summit in Amman next week (23-29 November).
SYNOPSIS: Syria has been leading calls to postpone the summit, whose main official aims would be the formulation of a new Arab economic strategy, and plans for increased political support for the Palestinian cause. Syria has insisted that serious inter-Arab conflicts should be resolved before the summit takes place, and Libya and South Yemen have declared their support for the postponement call. But Jordan, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia have argued that the kings and presidents attending the summit should use it to resolve their differences in private talks. Tensions between some Arab regimes have been inflamed by the Gulf War. Iraq has severed diplomatic ties with Syria and Libya, after accusing them of supplying weapons to Iran. Syria has accused Jordan and Iraq of harbouring fugitive members of the Moslem Brotherhood, and has repeatedly criticised Jordan for its support of the Camp David accords between Egypt and Israel.
President Assad had talks with the leader of ELF's executive committee, Ahmad Naser. Back home, ELF was reported to be moving towards an alliance with the smaller Eritrean Liberation Front-Popular Liberation Forces (ELF-PLF) to try to strengthen the secessionists' position in peace negotiations with the Ethiopian government. A third nationalist movement, the politically-independent Eritrean People's Liberation Front (EPLF), has ben waging a bitter, and creditable, war against ELF for two months.