Ethiopia and the Soviet Union have signed a friendship declaration and an economic aid agreement, concluding two days of talks in Moscow between Ethiopian leader Haile Mariam Mengistu and Kremlin Chiefs.
GV INTERIOR: Ethiopian leader Haile Mariam Mengistu entering room, followed by Soviet President Nicolai Podgorny and Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko, and party taking seats at table -- Moscow, USSR.
CU: Podgorny signing friendship declaration PAN TO Mengistu signing.
GV: Podgorny and Mengistu exchanging agreements and shaking hands.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Ethiopia and the Soviet Union have signed a friendship declaration and an economic aid agreement, concluding two days of talks in Moscow between Ethiopian leader Haile Mariam Mengistu and Kremlin Chiefs. The signing come as Ethiopia faces its worst-ever internal difficulties, and open hostility from its Sudanese and Somali neighbours.
SYNOPSIS: Soviet President Nicolai Podgorny signed the friendship declaration with Colonel Mengistu, which the official Tass News Agency described as 'laying the foundations for friendly relations and co-operation'. The agency gave no further details, but observers in Moscow said the declaration could pave the way for the sort of full-scale friendship treaty usually reserved for the Soviet Union's closest third world allies. While the two leaders were concluding the friendship declaration, watched by Soviet Foreign Minister, Andrei Gromyko, their planning and economics ministers were signing economic aid protocol.
Following the ceremony, Colonel Mengistu attended a Kremlin banquet while Soviet police threw a heavy cordon around the nearby Ethiopian Embassy. Sixty students were in the building at the time. The students and the Ethiopian Ambassador said afterwards that they had done 'nothing unusual' to provoke the four-hour police action, and a Soviet official said 'nothing happened'. Back home, Colonel Mengistu and his government are facing several unrest in the capital, Addis Ababa, as well as fighting a losing battle against Eritrean guerrillas.