• Short Summary

    Ethiopian Head of State Lieutenant-colonel Mengistu Haile Ma???iam returned on Sunday (2 December) to Addis?

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    Ethiopian Head of State Lieutenant-colonel Mengistu Haile Ma???iam returned on Sunday (2 December) to Addis Ababa from the South Yemen, where he signed a treaty of friendship and co-operation with President Abdul-Fattah Ismail. Colonel Mengistu arrived in Aden on Thursday (29 November) accompanied by a delegation, which included the Ministers of Defence, Foreign Affair and Trade.

    SYNOPSIS: The Ethiopian Head of State's four-day visit to the South Yemeni capital of Aden followed those of Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin and East German leader, Erich Honecker. Both Colonel Mengistu's government in Ethiopia and the South Yemenis have strong links with the Soviet Union and Eastern European countries. And South Yemen and Ethiopia have both pledged to build lasting bilateral ties, because of what they call mutual historical links and common objectives.

    According to Colonel Mengistu, their friendship and co-operation treaty will lead to further co-operation in the fields of agriculture, commerce and technology. Both he and President Ismail stressed that they are aware of the strategic importance of the Red Sea waterway for many countries, but it was especially crucial to both their countries. After the treaty was exchanged, Colonel Mengistu said favourable conditions had been created for maintaining peace and security in the region.

    While in Aden, Colonel Mengistu presented medals awarded to yemenis who had died while helping Ethiopia defend the Red Sea port of Massawa against rebel forces early last year. The Ethiopian leader said South Yemeni and Ethiopian efforts to secure lasting peace in the Red Sea region were being undermined by what they terms imperialist and reactionary forces. President Ismail also recently signed twenty-year friendship and technical co-operation agreements with the Soviet Union and East Germany.

    After his return to Addis Ababa, Colonel Mengistu summed up his visit as successful. According to political observers, both Ethiopia and the South Yemen are modelling themselves on the Kremlin style of government. Indeed, western countries have alleged that both countries are too heavily influenced by the Soviet Union. And several Middle Eastern leaders have expressed concern at what they see as an un-desirable Marxist influence in both Ethiopia and South Yemen.

    But the two countries have solidified their alliance, and Colonel Mengistu says they intend to present a united front to protect their interests in the Red Sea area.

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    Reuters - Including Visnews
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