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Cablegate: Talking Points for Ethiopia-Eritrea Consultations

VZCZCXYZ0003
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHC #7695 0250056
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O P 250054Z JAN 08
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK IMMEDIATE 0000
INFO UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA PRIORITY 0000
RUEHAE/AMEMBASSY ASMARA PRIORITY 0000

UNCLAS STATE 007695

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: UNSC PREL XA XW ET ER
SUBJECT: TALKING POINTS FOR ETHIOPIA-ERITREA CONSULTATIONS

1. USUN is instructed to draw from the talking points in
paragraph 3 below in its January 25 consultations on
Ethiopia-Eritrea.

2. OBJECTIVES: USUN should seek to: (1) extend UNMEE's
mandate for six months; (2) continue the Temporary Security
Zone (TSZ); (3) avoid discussion of the Ethiopia-Eritrea
Boundary Commission's demarcation decision by map coordinates
and any pressure for the parties to implement it; (4) support
the SYG's efforts to engage the parties; and (5) support
efforts to lift restrictions on UNMEE, especially the current
fuel crisis.

3. Begin talking points:

-- The United States first wants to thank Acting Special
Representative Ennifer for his briefing and to pay particular
tribute to the efforts of UNMEE's military and civilian
staff, who are working to accomplish their mission despite
the difficult circumstances they face.

-- The United States remains deeply concerned about the
continuing impasse between Ethiopia and Eritrea. There is
no political engagement, military buildups on both sides
continue, and tensions are high. Resumption of
hostilities would further destabilize the Horn of Africa and
create a humanitarian crisis in the region.

-- Now more than ever the United States believes UNMEE and
the Temporary Security Zone (TSZ) play a useful,
stabilizing role. We respectfully disagree with the
Secretary General's recommendation for a technical one-

SIPDIS
month rollover until the UNMEE fuel crisis can be resolved.
While we understand the diesel fuel shortage in Eritrea, we
believe UNMEE should be able to import this fuel from other
sources.

-- We are concerned that the Eritrean government's cutoff of
UNMEE fuel supplies on December 1, its refusal to permit
UNMEE to import this fuel, the other restrictions it has
placed on UNMEE, and its letters to the Council are an effort
to use UNMEE to force this Council to take sides in the
bilateral dispute between Ethiopia and Eritrea.

-- We believe that the continued presence of UNMEE is
important to stability in the Horn and therefore recommend
that UNMEE's mandate be renewed for a full six months. We
call on Eritrea to allow UNMEE to make provisions for
adequate fuel supplies and to lift all restrictions or
impediments to UNMEE's operations.

-- We also believe that the TSZ remains essential as
conditions along the boundary remain tense. We therefore
call for
continued respect for the TSZ in accord with the Algiers
Agreements and previous UNSC resolutions. We repeat the
call for Eritrea to withdraw all of its military forces there.

-- The United States remains committed to the peaceful
resolution of this conflict. We urge the parties to
respect their commitments in the Cessation of Hostilities
Agreement and Algiers Agreement and stand ready to assist
the parties in this effort.

-- Eritrea and Ethiopia must realize that they are ultimately
responsible for resolving their border dispute
and normalizing their relations. The United States and the
international community stand ready
to assist the parties in meeting this objective, but it is up
to the parties themselves to agree upon a way forward.

-- However, we recommend three specific steps the parties
might take to lessen tensions and set the stage for
further progress.

1) We encourage the parties to meet under the auspices of the
Joint Military Coordination Commission to open a
channel of communications.

2) The parties should, in cooperation with UNMEE, cooperate
in humanitarian activities along the border and
agree to mutually disengage militarily at critical points.

3) We support the appointment of a new SRSG and urge the
parties to accept this nomination and cooperate with this
official.

-- We fully support the efforts of the SYG to engage the
parties and urge them too cooperate in this
initiative. Direct engagement is essential to resolution of
the impasse.

Question for DPKO:

-- If UNMEE-Eritrea reaches a critical fuel level and must
drawdown, what will that evacuation look like? Will
UNMEE-Eritrea forces simply drive across the border to
Ethiopia?

-- Have you discussed with Ethiopia the idea of hosting
additional UNMEE forces?

IF NEEDED:

-- It is up to the parties to the Algiers Agreements, not
third parties, to decide whether and how to implement the
decisions of the EEBC.

-- There are no impediments to continuation of UNMEE and the
TSZ. The parties disagree on the impact of the EEBC's

SIPDIS
decisions. Until such time as they cooperate to develop a
workable boundary regime and move toward normalized
relations, UNMEE and the TSZ are essential to efforts to
stabilize the region and prevent possible conflict.

end points
RICE

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