• Short Summary

    In Ethiopia there have been celebrations marking the first anniversary of the founding of the People's Militia.

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    In Ethiopia there have been celebrations marking the first anniversary of the founding of the People's Militia. One year ago the leaders of the ruling Provisional Military Administrative Council called on the people to support them in defence of what the leadership described as "the nation's honour and integrity on various fronts".

    SYNOPSIS: Since then the People's Militia has grown to a special force of about 100,000 men and women -- and during the anniversary celebrations at their Tatak Training Ground a large number of them took part in a full-scale parade, which featured both traditional and more modern military detachments. Floats depicting the progress of the revolution were also on display.

    PMAC Secretary-General Fikre-Selassie Wogderess watched the parade.

    Practical aspects of the Ethiopian revolution were also highlighted during the celebrations. During his anniversary speech Captain Wogderess accused the United States, Britain and West Germany of arming neighbouring Somalia to invade Ethiopia for the second time. However both European countries have denied this.

    And the United States said last month that it would send a delegation to assess Somalia's defence requirements on the condition of a written undertaking that Somalia would not try to alter its boundaries by force. But the delegation's trip has been delayed--and in the meantime event he children of Ethiopia are being trained in the use of arms.

    Essentially Marxist, Ethiopian revolutionary zeal includes tribute to the founding father -- Lenin, Marx and Engels -- at public displays. But the country is still a long way from peaceful co-existence. Apart from the conflict with Somalia in the Ogaden desert, the 17-year old war of independence by secessionist guerrillas in the province of Eritrea continues -- amid reports of renewed drought and famine in the area.

    On Friday (29 June) the two Eritrean guerrilla organisations held a joint news conference in Beirut. Spokesmen Ahmed Nasser and Ramadan Mohammed Nour offered to hold direct negotiations with the Ethiopian government aimed at ending the war. However following a seminar in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia rejected the possibility of negotiations and instead came out in favour of a renewed military offensive in Eritrea. But according to all reports they will have to do it alone. The cuban troops and Soviet advisers who helped Ethiopia drive Somali forces from the Ogaden have so far refused to join the fighting in Eritrea.

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