DRAFT LETTER FROM HONECKER TO BREZHNEV ON ETHIOPIAN-ERITREAN TALKS, 19 APRIL 1978
Erich Honecker, the General Secretary of the Socialist Unity Party (SED), leader of the German Democratic Republic from 1971 until the weeks preceding the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989
Among other things both sides agreed in the first meeting on:
1. Both sides confirm their resolve to stop the bloodshed immediately and bring about a political solution.
2. The Provisional Military Administrative Council of Ethiopia will make a public declaration expressing its concrete proposals for the implementation of regional autonomy for Eritrea in the framework of the Ethiopian state and under inclusion of all willing positive forces in Eritrea.
The Central Committee of the EPLF recognizes the achievements of the Ethiopian Revolution and declares itself ready for cooperation in the interest of implementation of regional autonomy.
3. Revolutionary Ethiopia's secure access to the Red Sea must be guaranteed by its uninterrupted access lines and its control over Asmara and the ports of Massawa and Assab.
4. Both sides form a common commission for the purpose of implementing the above points and all other steps for the security of the Revolution in Ethiopia and regional autonomy in Eritrea. It was agreed to inform the leadership organizations of Ethiopia and of the EPLF and have them communicate their positions on the results of the second meeting and the proposals of the SED at a third meeting in the GDR in mid May.
Read the whole report:
January 31, 1978 Memorandum of a Conversation between East German leader Erich Honecker and Siassi Aforki, General Secretary of the Revolutionary Party of Eritrea, in Berlin
Aforki: We are very proud and very happy about this meeting. It is a historical meeting. The first visit of our comrades in the GDR already brought very positive results. [...] We highly appreciate the good offices of your country and your party. What we have achieved so far is already a turning-point in our fight. The results of the meeting with the Ethiopians are still uncertain, but in any case it will be a historic meeting. In the past 17 years a fierce battle has been waged. Not one meeting took place between Eritreans and Ethiopians. If something developed from this first meeting, this will not only be good for our two countries but for the peoples of the entire world. The only pre-condition for it is goodwill on the Ethiopian and on our side.
Comrade S. Aforki: The main problem is in how far Ethiopia is willing to meet our demands. It is clear from the start that if Ethiopia is not bringing along new proposals, a solution will not be possible. There is no point in discussing the possibility of unifying both revolutions. What we need are guarantees that the fight against imperialism and reaction will continue. Only one principal question is of importance. Everything depends on the capabilities and tactics of our organization. We won't be picky in minor questions. It is totally clear to us that in the case of an actual agreement its implementation is the important thing. Then we will check the details and implement them patiently. Eritrea has many enemies within and without. If they all find out about it, we will have many difficulties. But we are preparing for it. It is true that we are not the only organization. That, however, does not worry us. Because of our great influence and military strength we can succeed. The other two organizations in Eritrea have allied themselves with the imperialists and the reaction in the Arabic region.