Ethiopia's Defence Minister Lieutenant-General Aman Andom told an 80,000 crowd in Asmara, the capital of Eritrea on Wednesday (28 August) that he had brought a message of peace to the country's trouble northern province.
GV Street scenes in Asmara (6 shots)
MV General Andom out of 'plane and greeted
MV Dignitaries assembled
MVs General greeting officials
GV (SILENT) General inspecting armed vehicle armed vehicle groups
MV Crews into armoured vehicles as General looks on as crew commander salutes
Sv General Andom raises hat to cheering crowd
CU General speaks in Tigrina
MV Light aircraft files over
GV Crowd listening (2 shots)
CU General speaking
CU & MV Crowd listening (2 shots)
SV Crowd applauding as General walks to vehicle
Initials BB/1722 RS/DE/BB/1750
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Background: Ethiopia's Defence Minister Lieutenant-General Aman Andom told an 80,000 crowd in Asmara, the capital of Eritrea on Wednesday (28 August) that he had brought a message of peace to the country's trouble northern province.
The General, an Eritrean himself, arrived in Asmara on Monday (26 August) for a week's fact finding tour of a vital area which has been the scene of 12 years of intermittent fighting between Government forces and separatist guerrillas of the Eritrean Liberation Front.
General Andom in his speech criticised what he termed the "old regime of princes and dignitaries" under which he himself had suffered. He added that the regime had kept Eritrea's problems a secret.
Last week the Ethiopian Prime Minister Lij (Sir) Michael Imru told Parliament he would treat the Eritrean situation as a matter of priority because it was a problem for the entire nation.
Without the province of Eritrea the Ethiopian economy would be doomed because the Eritrean Red Sea ports of Massawa and Assab are Ethiopia's only outlets to the sea, Emperor Haile Selassie pointed out in a recent statement.
The day before Defence Minister Andom left for Asmara he had talks with the 23 Eritrean Parliamentary deputies who recently walked out of the chamber an masse.
The Deputies staged their protest against alleged Government indifference to the Province's problems. They claimed political prisoners were still being held in jail despite the ???esty, that the armed forces were carrying out systematic massacres of villagers and that events in Eritrea were deliberately being suppressed in the Government-owned press and radio.
General Aman Andom, who is also Chief of the Staff of the Ethiopian Armed Forces, will be studying the political, military and administrative problems of Eritera and reporting back to Parliament. It is also reported that he will be trying to have contact with the "popular leaders" of the area in order to bring peace.