In Rome on Tuesday (7 February), an Ethiopian government spokesman, Major Girma Neway, claimed Somalia was getting a lot of help from several Arab countries and Iran in the Ogaden border war with Ethiopia.
INT MV: Chairman of the Ethiopian Information Centre Major Girma Heway speaking in English at news conference in Rome.
EXT GV ZOOM INTO MV: Soviet built gunboats anchored in Somali port of Berbera.
GV ZOOM INTO MV: Soviet -built hospital.
GV: Apartment (called Moscow village) built by the Russians.
CU: Prominent Somali (unnamed) speaking in English.
GV PAN: Ogaden Desert.
MVs: Cuban soldier captured by the Somalis under guard. (2 SHOTS)
MAJOR NEWAY: "We have reliable information that Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Iran are airlifting well over 7,000 troops into Somalia to help boost the Somali army. NATO countries have now a plan for direct intervention. Recently the United States, Britain, West Germany, France and Italy have agreed to supply vast military equipment to Somalia through arrangements with reactionary Arab regimes, together with Iran and other reactionary forces. During his recent visit to Iran, the American President (Jimmy) Carter openly urged Iran not only to speed up the delivery of arms, but (also) for direct involvement in the war. Therefore the Shah of Iran is threatening Ethiopia daily. Egypt has been urged to pass all its Soviet was equipment to Somalia with the promise that the replacement will be made with NATO weapons.
SOMALI SPOKESMAN:"They know that through their intelligence, they know that the situation is getting untenable. They know the enormous billions worth of equipment coming to Ethiopia. They know that the Super Power, the Soviet Union, is on the other side with its Warsaw pact allies. But unfortunately, until now, the Western world had not given us any arms supply. But we are still optimistic that in the end the Western world will also come to realise the danger."
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Background: In Rome on Tuesday (7 February), an Ethiopian government spokesman, Major Girma Neway, claimed Somalia was getting a lot of help from several Arab countries and Iran in the Ogaden border war with Ethiopia. Major Neway, who is chairman of the Ethiopian Information Centre in Addis Ababa, accused Saudi Arabia, Iran and Egypt of pouring arms into Somalia and alleged that NATO was also planning to help the Somalis. Major Neway's comments came on the eve of an expected major Ethiopian ground offensive in the Ogaden against Somali-backed forces, who are already retreating under heavy air and artillery attacks. His accusations contrasted with complaints in Somalia that it was not getting the arms it needed.
SYNOPSIS: Somalia already has some Soviet weaponry, like these obsolete gunboats, anchored in the northern Somali port of Berbera.
Like this hospital, the gunboats were abandoned when Somalia expelled its Soviet advisers last year. The Somalis are now counting on the West for armaments.
The danger for Ethiopia's adversaries is that the war in the Ogaden Desert will escalate.
They are worried that, helped by Cuban soldiers, like this one captured in the fighting, Ethiopia will invade and annex the northern part of the country. If it did so, Ethiopia could control the strategic mouth of the Red Sea.