Cablegate: Unmee Consultations, March 13, 2008


DE RUEHC #6142 0722331
P R 122327Z MAR 08




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. This is an action message. USUN is instructed to draw
from the following elements during UNMEE consultations on
March 13, 2008.

Begin Elements:

-The U.S. welcomes the Special Report of the Secretary
General on the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea
(UNMEE), and supports the UN,s efforts in its attempt to
alleviate the crisis along the Ethiopia-Eritrea border.

-We note that UNMEE is a Chapter VI operation which operates
with the consent of Ethiopia and Eritrea alike, and that its
fundamental tasks have always been to monitor implementation
of the Algiers Agreement and to assist both countries settle
their border dispute and normalize their relations. We
condemn Eritrea,s restrictions on UNMEE and how they have
impeded the Mission,s ability to fulfill its mandate,
conduct operations, and sustain itself in the Temporary
Security Zone (TSZ).

-We reject the Government of Eritrea,s (GSE) claim that it
&had no role in all of the major decisions that affected the
status of UNMEE in Eritrea,8 and that the Mission,s
relocation arrangements were based on a &unilateral
decision8 by the UN. As outlined in the Special Report, the
UN made several efforts to bring Eritrea into the process
without success.

-As outlined in the Special Report, since the advance
parties, attempts to relocate February 11, there were a
number of serious incidents in which the Eritrean Defense
Force (EDF) had prevented the movement of UNMEE, threatening
the safety and security, and essentially holding hostage,
Mission personnel and equipment. We echo the sentiments of
the troop contributing countries (TCCs) that the measures
imposed by the Eritrean authorities were "unwarranted,
untenable, and unacceptable,8 which stands in contradiction
to the claim in the March 10 letter from the Permanent
Mission of Eritrea that &Eritrea has always treated UN
peacekeepers with respect and dignity,8 and that this
&spirit of cooperation and hospitality accorded to the UN
troops that have come to Eritrea to serve in a peacekeeping
operation is something that TCCs can attest to.8

- As parties to the Agreement on the Cessation of
Hostilities, under which Ethiopia and Eritrea invited the UN
to deploy peacekeepers on their territories, both committed
to respect and protect the members of the peacekeeping
mission, its installations and equipment, and to guarantee
the free movement and access of the peacekeeping mission and
its supplies, as required, through their territories.
Accordingly, we hold Eritrea responsible for the safety of
all UN personnel currently located in their territory, and
demand that the GSE refrain from interference with the
relocation of remaining UN personnel and their equipment and
allow all remaining UNMEE peacekeepers to leave Eritrea with
their equipment in a &dignified and orderly manner.8

- For years, Eritrea has hampered the efforts of UNMEE to
fulfill their mandate. Restrictions imposed by the GSE on
UNMEE are unacceptable, inconsistent with the basic
obligations of a host state toward a peacekeeping mission,
and represent a serious threat to the credibility of this
body. Additionally, the imposition of restrictions on the
Mission's operations pose serious implications for the safety
and security of peacekeepers deployed elsewhere.

-The U.S. emphasizes the Secretary General,s statement that
UNMEE,s temporary relocation is without prejudice to the
provisions in the Agreement on the Cessation of Hostilities,
and calls on Ethiopia and Eritrea to engage in discussions
that address fundamental issues that divide them, including
the implementation of the delimitation decision of the
Ethiopia-Eritrea Boundary Commission (EEBC). We also call on
both parties to avoid actions which undermine the Algiers
Agreement or exacerbate the situation along their common
border, and welcome the Secretary General,s offer of his
good offices on these issues.

-The U.S. is puzzled by the suggestion of the Eritrean
Permanent Representative that the Secretary General,s offer
of his good offices to assist the parties in resolving their
differences could somehow be inconsistent with the letter or
spirit of the Algiers Accords. We emphasize that regardless
of the GSE,s position on the SYG,s offer, there can be no
cause or justification for its abusive conduct toward UNMEE
and its personnel. Additionally, we urge Eritrea not to
close potential avenues of assistance for both reducing
tensions and resolving outstanding issues with Ethiopia.

-The U.S. thanks and recognizes the contributions of TCCs,
particularly India and Jordan, and notes their sustained
support even during times of increased insecurity of the
-The U.S. thanks and recognizes UNMEE personnel for their
hard work and efforts, and notes that they have made great
contributions in maintaining peace and security in the
region, often under dangerous and precarious circumstances.

-The Security Council is obligated to consider all available
options, including a range of potential coercive measures, to
ensure the GSE's full resolution to this crisis to the
complete satisfaction of the Council and the affected TCCs.
Moreover, the U.S. notes the urgency for the Security Council
to determine the UN,s future role in the Ethiopia-Eritrea
border conflict, including reconfiguration of the Mission.
The Security Council is under no obligation to maintain
UNMEE, particularly given the hazardous circumstances under
which the Mission has had to operate, and the intransigence
of both parties to resolve their dispute. We stand ready to
welcome a Special Report of the Secretary General on UNMEE
reconfiguration possibilities.

End elements.

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