Soviet leader Leonid I. Brezhev warned yesterday that countries that meddle in the affairs of Zaire "must give serious thought to the consequences that may follow."
Brezhnev's statement in Moscow followed a claim by the officil Soviet news agency Tass that Israel i playing a growing role with Western nations in aiding Zaire's armed forces against invaders in southern Shaba province, and that Arab countries were being dragged into the conflict as well.
"If a new and dangerous source of tension emerges in the center of Africa, the entire responsibility will fall on those who violate on of the basic principles of interstate relations: the principle of non-interference in domestic affairs," Brezhnev said in a speech welcoming Syrian President Hafez Assad.
The official Soviet press has made several veiled references to an Israeli presence in Zaire but the Tass commentary yesterday has the first direct statement on the subject.
"As is clear from reports coming in, Tel Aviv has been promptly entrusted with the reorganization of Zaire's security service and Israeli specialists are employed as instructors in Zaire army units," Tass said. "Western imperialist circles are doing all they can to enmesh the Arab countries in the Zaire conflict."
Meanwhile, in London, Common Market foreign ministers discussed the Zaire fighting yesterday and issued a declaration saying they refected "any action by any state at setting up a sphere of influence in africa."
The warning appeared aimed at the Soviet Union and came a day after British Prime Minister James Callaghan told Moscow in a speech in The Hague that too much involvement in Africa could endanger East-West detente.
In Zaire, the government news agency ACAP said President Mobutu Sese Seko's troops drove invaders in southern Zaire back 15 miles and checked their advance on Kolwezi, the copper-mining center of Shaba.