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Digital Archive International History Declassified

June 07, 1978

INFORMATION ON TALKS OF AHMED NASSER (ELF-RC) IN THE USSR SOLIDARITY COMMITTEE

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    Ahmed Nasser, leader of ELF-RC (one of the Eritrean liberation movements), discusses the internal political situation of Eritrea.
    "Information on Talks of Ahmed Nasser (ELF-RC) in the USSR Solidarity Committee," June 07, 1978, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, SAPMO-BArch, DY30 IV 2/2.035/127 http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/111900
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SED Department of International Relations, Information on talks of Ahmed Nasser (ELF-RC) in the USSR Solidarity Committee, 7- 8 June 1978

We received the following information from the CC of the CPSU:

The representatives of the Soviet Committee for Solidarity explained the USSR position which is based on the assumption that the solution of the Eritrean question has to be achieved within the framework of a unified Ethiopian state by means of negotiations.

In effect, the three talks which were held with Ahmed Nasser proved that the Eritrean friends are not yet willing to approach the question by giving up the slogan of independence for Eritrea. Their argumentation is that neither side should coerce the other one into negotiations and a solution could only be a result of unconditional negotiations.

In the first conversation on 7 June, A. Nasser indicated that the ELF-RC would possibly consent to a federation. In the following talks it was not mentioned again, and by the time the third talk took place on 8 June, the position of the Eritrean friends had even hardened.

Generally they were at pains to prove that the ELF was the best, the [most] Marxist-Leninist of the Eritrean movements. They pointed out their advantages as follows:
1. The ELF recognizes the progressive character of the Ethiopian Revolution.
2. It acknowledges the importance of the Soviet-Cuban support.
3. It does not demand preconditions.
4. It is willing to negotiate.
5. It favors the unification on a common democratic basis.

The Soviet comrades estimate that the attitude of the ELF appears to be slightly more flexible as those of the other Eritrean movements but this is, however, only an appearance.

[Source: SAPMO-BArch, DY30 IV 2/2.035/127; obtained and translated by Christian F. Ostermann.]