Cuban President Fidel Castro was today quoted as saying his country does not intend to send its troops to liberate any part of southern Africa.
The government-owned Daily New today reported Castro's remark from a press conference here yesterday before he left for Nozambique during his extensive African tour. Foreign correspondents were barred from the press conference.
"It is not Cuba's intention to send soldiers to free any part of southern Africa. Independence is never delivered from aboard, the people concerned must fight for their independence," Castro was quoted as saying.
In Monzambique, Castro expressed a wish today for closer cooperation between Cuba and Mozambique.
He told a rally that his visit would allow for "an increase in cooperation between the Cuban Communist Party and government and Frelimo and the Mozambique government." Frelimo is the movement that has governed Mozambique since it gained independence from Portugal.
Castro was quoted as saying last night he was ready to intensify "the relations of solidarity and cooperation" between the two countries.
Soviet President Nikolai Podgorny arrived in Tanzania today, the day after Castro left, on the first stage of a major Soviet diplomatic offensive in southern Africa.
Podgorny, heading a 120-mile delegation, flew into Kilimanjaro airport in northern Tanzania in a supersonic TU-144, the Soviet equivalent of the Concorde. He was met by Tanzanian Vice President Abound Jumbe.
He is the first senior Kremlin leader to visit southern Africa.
The Soviet diplomatic initiative is believed aimed at countering intense Western activity in southern Africa over the last year - mainly in connection with Rhodesia - and at consolidation Moscow's own prestige and influence in the area.