A member of Ethiopia's ruling Military council has denied that there are any Cuban or Soviet military advisers in Ethiopia, or that Soviet warships helped in the defence of the Eritrean port of Massawa.
SCU: Major Berhanu Bayih, member of the Ethiopian foreign Affairs Committee speaking in English.
TRANSCRIPT: BERHANU: "The United Nations and the Organisation of African Unity rejected Somalia's pretention as illegal and incompatible with Charter principles. Having failed in the diplomatic arena, the reactionary Mogadishu regime decided to change the boundaries of African states by force of arms. What somalia has thus failed to obtain in the diplomatic field, she thought she would gain through armed aggression. As a result of this, and at a time, when the new revolutionary Government of Ethiopia was pre-occupied with the developments of the revolution of to liberate the broad masses of Ethiopia from centuries-old exploitation and oppression, the Mogadishu regime felt that it was opportune to attack Ethiopia and to reverse the revolution. The aggression by Somalia against Ethiopia was committed at instigation of the Carter administration, and with the full collaboration of the Arab reaction. The aggression by Somalia against Ethiopia cannot therefore be seen in isolation. It is tied up with the overall imperialist regimes in the region. The Ethiopian people are now engaged in a war of revolutionary resistance. This war of revolutionary resistance will continue until the last Somali soldier leaves Ethiopian territory."
According to Reuters News agency quoting western intelligence sources, dozens of Soviet and East European cargo ships, protested by Soviet armed escorts are taking heavy combat equipment to Ethiopian ports south of Massawa. The ships are said to be unloading heavy tanks, lighter armoured vehicles, rockets, heavy artillery guns and ammunition.
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Background: A member of Ethiopia's ruling Military council has denied that there are any Cuban or Soviet military advisers in Ethiopia, or that Soviet warships helped in the defence of the Eritrean port of Massawa. Mayor Berhanu Bayih, a member of the Ethiopian Foreign Affairs committee was speaking at a news conference in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi on Wednesday (18 January). He was referring to United States estimates of up to 2,000 Cuban and 1,000 Soviet Military advisers in Ethiopia, The Ethiopians are fighting Somali-backed forces in the south east and Eritrean secessionists in the north of the country and Major Bernahu said the allegations were part of "imperialist propaganda against the Ethiopian revolution". In a prepared statement, he described Somalia's military involvement in Ethiopia as illegal, and said that the United States was behind what he referred to as "Somali aggression".