At the United Nations Somalia offered on Thursday (13 October) to help start direct peace negotiations between Ethiopia and the Western Somalia Liberation Front.
CU: Somali Foreign Minister Mr Abdurahman Jama Barre speaking.
Mr. Barre met the Foreign Minister of Ethiopia, Feleke Gedle-Ghiorgis, in August for discussions on the border war. The meeting was arranged in Gabon by the Organisation of African Unity. In September, Ethiopian leader Lt. Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam condemned the Western press for its 'acceptance' of the Somali contention that fighting in the Ogaden was by the WSLF rather than by regular Somali forces.
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Background: At the United Nations Somalia offered on Thursday (13 October) to help start direct peace negotiations between Ethiopia and the Western Somalia Liberation Front. There has been fierce fighting between the sides in the disputed Ogaden area for the last three months.
SYNOPSIS: In the United Nations General Assembly Somalia's Foreign Minister Mr. Abdurahman Jama Barre again claimed his country had no direct military involvement in the conflict. He said that if any aggression had been committed, it was Ethiopia who had moved against the people of Western Somalia and had continued to violate their rights. Mr Barre said Ethiopia's hostile acts and refusal to acknowledge the WSLF showed that country's unwillingness to negotiate seriously. Somalia believed peace could be assured best through a political solution recognising the Western Somalis' right to self-determination. Mr. Barre warned that interference by foreign powers would exacerbate the situation and widen the area of conflict. He accused Ethiopia of trying to precipitate direct military conflict with Somalia. But in spite of constant provocations, his government continued to exercise maximum restraint, he said. Somalia would continue actively to support the people in Western Somalia.