Soviet President Nikolai Podgorny has accused "imperialists" of interfering in Ethiopia's affairs and has said the Socialist-military Government of Ethiopia has the Kremlin's full backing.
Soviet President Nikolai Podgorny has accused "imperialists" of interfering in Ethiopia's affairs and has said the Socialist-military Government of Ethiopia has the Kremlin's full backing. President Podgorny was speaking at a banquet for the visiting Ethiopian Head of State, Lieutenant Colonel Mengistu Haile-Mariam, who arrived in Moscow on Wednesday (4 May).
At the banquet, President Podgorny said it was no secret that what he termed "certain imperialist and other reactional??? forces" were ?anning national strife in an effort to hamper Ethiopia's development. President Podgorny said the notorious policy of "divide and rule" meant playing with fire and resulted in dangerous armed conflicts. Replying, Colonel Mengistu said "the guardian, co-ordinator and leader of the reactionary forces attempting to undermine Ethiopia was imperialism - the sworn enemy of oppressed peoples". He singled out American "imperialism" for particular emphasis.
SYNOPSIS: Last month, Ethiopia terminated its 20 year-old military treaty with the United States and it's believed Colonel Mengistu went to Moscow seeking Soviet military aid as a replacement. He was met at Moscow airport by President Podgorny and the Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko. Ethiopia's military Government is facing many problems. There's a guerrilla war going on in the Ethiopian province of Eritrea; territorial disputes exist with both Sudan and Somalia, and there is also armed opposition from other opponents at home. Last weekend (30 April-1 May) hundreds of students and young people hostile to the Ethiopian Government were reported to have been killed by troops and Government supporters in the capital of Addis Ababa.
At Wednesday's banquet, Colonel Mengistu attacked the United States saying Ethiopia now looked to Moscow for support. There was no direct reference to military aid, but Western reports say Soviet-made tanks are already in Ethiopia.