On the fifth anniversary of the overthrow of Emperor Haile Selassie, the Ethiopian military regime has announced new moves towards civilian rule.
On the fifth anniversary of the overthrow of Emperor Haile Selassie, the Ethiopian military regime has announced new moves towards civilian rule. At a special rally in Addis Ababa Head of State Lieutenant-Colonel Mengistu Haile-Mariam announced the creation of a commission to devise a civilian party structure.
SYNOPSIS: Addis Ababa's "Revolution Square" was a mass of colour on Thursday (12 September ) as Ethiopians marked the fifth anniversary of Emperor Haile Selassie's overthrow. Watching the rally was chairman of the country's ruling Provisional Revolutionary Council, Lieutenant Colonel Mengistu Haile-Mariam. He was accompanied by Mr. Alexei Kosygin, Premier of the Soviet Union.
Mr. Kosygin's presence was significant, since earlier in the day he had announced the Soviet Union would be giving increased economic and technical assistance towards Ethiopian development plans. The announcement follows two years of Soviet military aid to Ethiopia in its fight against Eritrean secessionists and in its border war with neighbouring Somalia. That the Somali dispute is still alive was hinted at by Lieutenant-Colonel Mengistu, who in his anniversary address warned Ethiopia's neighbours not to "meddle" inside its borders.
At the same time, it is reported that Eritrean rebels are still in control of two towns in the north of Ethiopia.
The security situation is now more stable than it has been for the past two years, and this was thought to have been reflected in the presence of Mr. Kosygin, the highest-ranking Soviet official ever to have visited Ethiopia.
In honour of Mr. Kosygin, his Ethiopian hosts put on a spectacular pageant of horsemanship and music.
Later, crowds gathered to hear Lieutenant-Colonel Mengistu's anniversary address, in which he congratulated the people on their efforts to consolidate the country's five-year-old revolution. He also announced the first step in moving the country away from military rule. This was the formation of a spacial commission to set up a governing "Workers Party" throughout the country--a move which was welcomed by Soviet Premier Kosygin, who said the creation of the party would co-ordinate"all the Ethiopian regime's previous victories".