The two major Eritrean guerrilla leaders have offered to start talks with the Ethiopian government to end 17 years of fighting for independence of their province from Ethiopia.
SV Ahmed Nasser, head of Eritrean Liberation Front Council speaking in English
NASSER: "We declare that the representatives of the two organisations composing the joint leadership have agreed upon the following basic points in their meetings held on June 21, 1978: One: That the ELF and the EPLF are the sole and legitimate representatives of the Eritrean people and that the Joint Supreme Political Command is the only body authorised to speak on behalf of the Eritrean people on matters connected with out people's struggle and their destiny. Two: That the Eritrean Revolution strongly opposes and denounces policies being hatched by world imperialism and its agents to subjugate and implement it to serve their evil designs. Our revolution reaffirms that it will unrelentingly resist these policies to remain independent of them, and continue waging the fierce struggle against imperialism, Zionism and their lackeys in the region. Furthermore, the Joint Supreme Political command agreed that the fighting between Eritrea and Ethiopia and its further escalation does not serve the interests of both peoples.
Rallies were held earlier in June, in Addis Ababa. Ethiopia to gain support for the launching of a large operation by Ethiopian forces in the Eritrean regions. The three Eritrean guerrilla movements joined forces and said that they were already putting up a strong resistance to the Ethiopian advance setting ambushes and mines. The Beirut news conference announced a willingness to negotiate for peace, but Mr. Nasser said these should take place with the recognition "of the democratic and just principle of the right of self-determination of the Eritrean people." The Ethiopian Embassy in Beirut said, in response to the Eritrean news conference, that three meetings have already been held with an Eritrean guerrilla group and they had met with "intransigence". They claimed the joint press statement was "only aimed at confusing world opinion".
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Background: The two major Eritrean guerrilla leaders have offered to start talks with the Ethiopian government to end 17 years of fighting for independence of their province from Ethiopia. The offer was made by the two leaders at a news conference in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, on Thursday (29 June). It follows a secret visit earlier this month by one of the leaders Ahmed Nasser, head of the Eritrean Liberation Front Revolutionary Council (ERF), to Moscow. Reuters report the visit to Moscow came at a time of increased Soviet pressure for a negotiated end to the conflict. The other leader at the Beirut news conference was Ramadan Mohammed Nour, Secretary-General of the Eritrean People's Liberation Front (EPLF). Outlining the joint policy reached by the two organisations is Ahmed Nasser.