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Cablegate: Mfa Asserts Gse Willingness for Regional

VZCZCXRO5223
RR RUEHROV
DE RUEHAE #0223 1140551
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 230551Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY ASMARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9620
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0707
RUEPADJ/CJTF-HOA J2X CAMP LEMONIER DJ
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUMICEA/JICCENT MACDILL AFB FL
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS ASMARA 000223

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/E
LONDON AND PARIS FOR AFRICA WATCHERS
NSC FOR HUDSON AND PITTMAN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV KREC ER ET
SUBJECT: MFA ASSERTS GSE WILLINGNESS FOR REGIONAL
COOPERATION

1. (SBU) Ambassador and Director of East African Affairs
James Knight met on April 17 with Eritrea's Acting Foreign
Minister, Fessehazion Petros, to discuss bilateral relations
and regional dynamics. Knight emphasized the need for
Eritrea to lift restrictions on Embassy Asmara and stressed
the importance of Eritrea increasing its cooperation in the
region. He urged Eritrea to facilitate UNMEE's smooth
departure, as well as to open dialogue with Ethiopia
regarding the border.

2. (SBU) Fessehazion responded that the Government of the
State of Eritrea (GSE) can only work to solve the Embassy's
issues if the overall bilateral atmosphere improves, citing
in particular a resolution of the border dispute. He
expressed deep frustration at the continued USG emphasis on
dialogue with Ethiopia, pointedly asking, "dialogue on what?"
Knight reminded the Acting Foreign Minister that the Algiers
Agreement specifically calls for consultation between the two
parties and U.S. policy supports such dialogue.

3. (SBU) Fessehazion's overall demeanor lightened when the
discussion moved to regional dynamics. He stressed Eritrea's
willingness to work with the United States on bringing
stability to the region. Following Fessehazion's recounting
of Eritrea's role in encouraging dialogue among the Somalis,
Knight urged the Acting Foreign Minister to assist the United
States in isolating Somali extremists. Fessehazion replied
that Eritrea is "ready to help," adding, "we have a common
agenda to combat terrorists." Towards the end of the
meeting, the Acting Foreign Minister expressed his
"admiration" for the United States, emphasizing a desire for
increased cooperation between the two governments.

4. (SBU) COMMENT: Though the meeting had a rocky start, the
discussions concluded cordially (as cordially as we have seen
in the last year). Fessehazion voiced deep frustration at
the U.S. position on the border issue, indicating the GSE
views the current impasse as the key obstacle to better
bilateral relations. Nonetheless, he remained optimistic
regarding future cooperation with the United States on
matters of regional stability. End comment.

5. (U) This cable has been coordinated with AF/E Office
Director James Knight.
MCMULLEN

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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