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Cablegate: Unsc Qualified Anger at Eritrea

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OO RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHBZ RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHDU RUEHFL RUEHGI RUEHIK
RUEHJO RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHMA RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHPOD RUEHRN
RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHTRO RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUCNDT #0242/01 0771958
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 171958Z MAR 08
FM USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3926
INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN IMMEDIATE 0008
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI IMMEDIATE 2111

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 USUN NEW YORK 000242

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

AF AND IO FOR FRONT OFFICE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL UNSC KPAL ET ER MOPS
SUBJECT: UNSC QUALIFIED ANGER AT ERITREA

REF: USUN 175

1. (SBU) SUMMARY. On March 13 U/SYG Guehenno told the
Security Council that UNMEE has completed the relocation of
personnel and equipment from the Temporary Security Zone
(TSZ) to Asmara. Guehenno listed several incidents that he
described as Eritrean attempts to "humiliate" UNMEE during
the evacuation. Ambassador Wolff told members that Eritrea's
indefensible humiliation of a UN mission merited their
consideration of a full range of responsive measures. In
contrast to members' unambiguous condemnation of Eritrea on
February 21 (reftel), deliberations in this session had
several members more interested in discussing the
Ethiopia-Eritrea border dispute, with some members expressing
sympathy for Eritrea's position and suggesting that the
Eritrean foreign minister be invited to meet informally with
the Council. The Russian presidency undertook to sound out
the Eritrean PermRep about such a meeting. END SUMMARY.


DPKO: Eritrea Humiliating UN to the End
---------------------------------------

2. (SBU) During a March 13 briefing to the Security Council,
Under Secretary-General for Peacekeeping (DPKO) Jean-Marie
Guehenno said that UNMEE has completed the relocation of
personnel and equipment from the Temporary Security Zone
(TSZ) to the Asmara vicinity and has closed all 32 UN posts
and Team Sites in the TSZ. He said 1,260 UNMEE military
personnel have been relocated with 702 of them returned to
their home countries. He said a small number of peacekeepers
would remain in Eritrea to secure $18 million in UN/TCC-owned
equipment and facilitate its shipment, which will be
completed by mid-May.

3. (SBU) Guehenno reported a number of incidents in which
Eritrean Defense Forces (ENDF) attempted to obstruct or
hinder UNMEE during the evacuation process (reftel). In one
incident, Guehenno reported that 17 Indian Battalion vehicles
heading to Camp Dunn to assist with the evacuation were
stranded at an Eritrean controlled checkpoint for three days.
In another incident on February 27, Guehenno said two UN
military observers were detained and interrogated by ENDF
officials for over seven hours. Guehenno complained that
UNMEE officials had made numerous attempts to coordinate with
ENDF, so that UNMEE could depart in a more "orderly and
dignified" manner but had not received substantive responses
from ENDF on key coordination issues. He reported that $2
million in equipment left on the posts and team sites were
quickly seized by local residents upon UNMEE's departure
after local officials in each area refused to take
responsibility for it.

UNSC Displeased with Eritrea -- to a Point
------------------------------------------

4. (SBU) Unlike the consensus condemnation of Eritrea during
the February 21 UNSC session at the height of the fuel crisis
(reftel), some members had more nuanced comments on March 13,
with several in outright sympathy with Eritrea's motives if
not its tactics. South African PermRep Kumalo said that the
Eritrea's decision to cutoff fuel supplies to UNMEE and the
subsequent events related to the evacuation of the
peacekeepers reflected a "complete breakdown of
communication" between the host country and the Secretariat.
Calling the Secretary-General's special report "one-sided,"
he suggested the Council invite the Eritrean foreign minister
to New York to present another view. (NOTE: The South
African political coordinator told poloff during the session
that the Eritrean PermRep had approached Kumalo about such a
meeting. END NOTE.) Libyan PermRep Ettalhi concurred and
argued that an informal meeting with the Eritrean PermRep,
such as the forum recently afforded the Chadian FM, could
help the Council better understand what had happened and
consider even now what could be done about it.

5. (SBU) UK Deputy PermRep Pierce saw the fuel crisis as
reflecting an Eritrean effort "to establish the EEBC
(Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission) border as a reality."
She added that, "We need to sort out the border, but we need
to keep that separate from the relocation crisis." Italian
PermRep Spatafora lamented that, "The Council has lacked an
overarching political strategy; we can't expect Eritrea to
cooperate without getting something for itself." Panamanian
PermRep Arrias said, "We need to give a message that we are
going to address the border issue. We need to schedule

USUN NEW Y 00000242 002 OF 002


meetings on both issues (UNMEE's demise and the border) and
invite in Eritrea. Any effort to condemn Eritrea without
first trying to engage Eritrea could backfire."

6. (SBU). Ambassador Wolff said the UN Secretariat had
documented numerous, unreciprocated efforts by the UN to
communicate with the Eritrean government to head off the fuel
crisis. He said the Council should assume a share of the
blame for not actively intervening earlier but added that "it
is too late to talk to ministers now with UNMEE completing
its relocation." Wolff urged the Council to consider "the
full range of measures that could be taken against Eritrea"
for its humiliation of a Security Council mission, adding
that a failure to do so would set an unfortunate precedent
for other unhelpful actions by host countries elsewhere and
would chill potential troop contributors. France, UK, Italy,
Croatia, Costa Rica and Belgium agreed that a strong Council
statement should be considered once the relocation is
complete.

7. (SBU) At the close of the session, delegations agreed that
the Russian presidency would approach the Eritrean Permanent
Mission about his foreign minister's interest in a Council
appearance and report back to the Council. Russian PermRep
Churkin subsequently reported that the Eritrean PermRep had
taken note of Churkin's probe and undertaken to refer it to
Asmara.

KHALILZAD

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