In a series of conversations, apparently seeking to convey in private what they have not said publicly, the high-level sources said that Cuba would resist Ethiopian pressure to commit its troops to Ethiopia's 17-year-old civil war, and would continue to push for a political solution to the conflict.
According to U.S. estimates, more than 15,000 Cuban soldiers remain stationed in Ethiopia after helping to win a border war against Somalia earlier this year.
Despite repeated objections from the United States and other Western nations to the continued Cuban presence, and strong expressions of concern that the troops would be deployed on Ethiopia's other, internal front, Cuba has refused to commit itself publicly either to withdrawal or to noninvolvement in Eritrea.
The possibility of Cuban troop deployment in Eritrea has also angered many of Cuba's Friends in the Third World, particularly militant Arab nations that support the Eritrean movement.
Just yesterday Iraq, the Soviet Union's closest ally in the Middle East, raised the stakes for Soviet-Cuban involvement in Eritrea. Iraqi Information Minister Saad Qasim Hammudi said in an interview that Baghdad, because of its support for the Eritrean cause, would not allow supply planes bound for Ethiopia to use Iraqi air space Readmore