In Rome on Monday (23 January), Ethiopia's Deputy Foreign Minister, Major Dawit Wolde Georgia, accused unnamed Arab states of trying to escalate the war in Ethiopia's northern province of Eritrea.
MV Ethiopian Deputy Foreign Minister, major Dawit Wolde Georgis sits down at news conference at Ethiopian Embassy, Rome.
SV Newsmen seated
MV Major Georgis speaking in English.
GEORGIS: "The rebel forces operating in the northern part of Ethiopia are instruments of extremist interests. They have become instruments of certain Arab reactionary governments who want to dismember Ethiopia -- to have Eritrea secede from Ethiopia, and thereby control the Red Sea. And this being their grand design, they are doing everything to escalate the situation. And daily we see (INDISTINCT) the increasing involvement of certain Arab countries, supported by other imperialist countries, to escalate the rebel activities inside Eritrea. The majority of the people living in the northern province of Eritrea are very willing to live peacefully as an integral part of Ethiopia. But the increasing involvement of these extremist elements is complicating the matter."
A former Italian colony, Eritrea was annexed by Ethiopia in 1962 after a 10-year period of federation, sponsored by the United Nations. The fighting in the province is between Ethiopian troops and guerrillas of the Eritrean People's Liberation Front, who are seeking national independence. The guerrillas presently control all but a few of the larger Eritrean cities and garrison towns, and are now fighting to capture the important Red Sea port of Massawa. Meanwhile, the Ethiopian forces are being supplied with large quantities of Soviet arms and equipment, and many Soviet and Cuban "advisers" are with them.
Initials VS 15.15
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: In Rome on Monday (23 January), Ethiopia's Deputy Foreign Minister, Major Dawit Wolde Georgia, accused unnamed Arab states of trying to escalate the war in Ethiopia's northern province of Eritrea. Major Georgis said that states, along with other "imperialist" countries, were encouraging Eritrea to break away from Ethiopia so that they could control the strategic Red Sea.
SYNOPSIS: Major Georgis was speaking at a news conference at the Ethiopian Embassy. He was on his way home after talks in Britain.