• Short Summary

    Ethiopia's relations with its neighbours and other nations of the world have been undergoing a change in recent weeks.

  • Description

    Ethiopia's relations with its neighbours and other nations of the world have been undergoing a change in recent weeks. Sudanese President Ja'afar al-Nimeiry recently accused Ethiopia's ruling Provisional Military Council of operating 'bloodthirsty system of oppression" in the country. Ethiopia's relations have also cooled with the United States, Egypt and Britain and their military attaches have been ordered to leave the country. The expulsion announcement was made last Saturday (28 May) shortly after the attaches had attended a military passing out parade in the capital, Addis Ababa.

    SYNOPSIS: The passing out ceremony took place at the National Palace -- often used by the former Emperor, Haile Selassie. The occasion marked the graduation army and navy cadets to the Ethiopian armed forces. Many of the graduates may soon be fighting guerrillas who are seeking the separation of Ethiopia's Eritrea province from the rest of the country. The expulsion orders to the military attaches came three days after the United States claimed Cuban advisers were to train Ethiopian troops.

    Ethiopia's Head of State, Lieutenant-Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam, faces a number of problems both inside and outside the country. Some Ethiopian intellectuals see Colonel Mengistu's rule as nearer to the old imperial style of government than that of a strong Marxist country. The Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Party (EPRP) is a small clandestine group which has condemned the Provisional Military Council for following what they see as a pseudo-socialist dictatorship. The EPRP have claimed responsibility for the assassination of a number of government officials in the name of revolutionary progress. The group allege that the military have carried out a number of revenge killings, and estimate that as many as 2,000 people have died in the capital alone.

    Ethiopia has also received criticism from abroad for its policies towards the Eritrean separatists. The federation of Eritrea and Ethiopia came to an end in 1962 when the Eritrean Legislative Assembly voted itself out of existence. The Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF) was founded in Egypt and began an armed struggle to remove Ethiopia's presence from the province. The E.L.F. attracted world attention through a series of hijackings and was soon gathering support for its cause. However, martial law was introduced to the province in 1971 and the Ethiopian military set up a chain of fortified villages to control the area. The separatists group also suffered further setbacks when an internal dispute split the E.L.F. However, there are now signs that the E.L.F. are seeking reunification with the splinter group -- known as the Eritrean Popular Liberation Forces (E.P.L.F.)
    The Sudanese leaders' condemnation of the Ethiopian military earlier this month also spoke of what President Nimeiry called the "ruthless oppression of the Eritrean people". The attack was seen as another sign of the worsening relations between the two African neighbours. Yet the cadet passing-out ceremony in Addis Ababs did include a number of Sudanese officers.

    Ethiopia has strengthened its relations with the Soviet Union as it has been increasingly isolated by other countries. Colonel Mengistu and the Provisional Military Council hope to solve the major problems the country now faces.

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