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The Soviet Union and its world influence Part IV

The peoples’ uprising that took place in the early 1970’s was the outcome of the crisis created by the drought and the colonial war on Eritrea. It was not led by any political organization. Hence the political vacuum that was created after the fall of Haile Selassie in 1974.


The expansionist and imperial ambitions of Ethiopia’s rulers were threat to the cooperation, peace, stability and prosperity of the peoples of Ethiopia, Eritrea and the region. Solidarity among the libration and democratic forces of the region, therefore, was necessary. The EPLF believed solidarity must be based on a clear common program and concrete cooperation and has been working to establish and consolidations with all Ethiopian national and multi-national organizations.

The EPLF used to base its relationship with Ethiopian movements on the following principles recognition of the right to self determination of “Ethiopia” nationalities, recognition of the national and multi-national organization, formation of an anti-colonial and national democratic solidarity front, and all-sided cooperation.

On the part of Ethiopian organization the EPLF asked that they recognize the just and legitimate anti-colonial struggle of the Eritrean people and that they be willing to participate in the solidarity front.

At the beginning of the 1970’s the EPLF established relation with the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Party (EPRP). The EPLF did not establish the relationship for tactical reason or temporary gains but on the basis of the principles out lined above. When the EPRP accepted the principles, the two organizations began to cooperate and continued to do so for some years. However, a statement out in 1977 by the EPRP central committee plenum explained that the EPRP did not recognize the right of the Eritrean people to independence. It also stated that the EPRP considered both the EPLF and ELF undemocratic and its relationship with them “tactical”. Consequently, frictions developed and ties were broken.

EPLF’s relation with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) started in 1976. The relationship was based on EPLF’s recognition of the right of the oppressed nationalities of Ethiopia and on TPLF’s recognition of the just right of the Eritrean people for self determination. The cooperation continued to steadily grow. Nevertheless, documents put out by the TPLF stated that the TPLF had resolved that the EPLF was not a democratic organization and that its(TPLF’s) relationship with the EPLF was “tactical”. The EPLF had thought that its cooperation with the TPLF was genuine and not based on temporary tactical considerations. And so, when the TPLF’s secret stand became public the EPLF realized its “naivety” and although it did not regret its past action, decided to break its relationship with the TPLF and not enter into polemics with it. 

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