Cablegate: Djibouti Seeks Diplomatic Solution to Border Crisis
DE RUEHDJ #0394/01 1150445
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 240445Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY DJIBOUTI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9186
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 DJIBOUTI 000394
DEPARTMENT FOR AF/E
LONDON, ROME, PARIS FOR AFRICA-WATCHER
CJTF-HOA FOR POLAD
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO PREL PBTS MOPS DJ ER
SUBJECT: DJIBOUTI SEEKS DIPLOMATIC SOLUTION TO BORDER CRISIS
REF: DJIBOUTI 389
1. SUMMARY: On April 23, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a
statement in local state-run media informing the public of a growing
border dispute with Eritrea near Doumeira (reftel). President
Ismail Omar Geullah visited the border April 22 and urged the
Djiboutian military not to "give in to provocation." The
declaration stressed that the GOJD is seeking a diplomatic solution
to the crisis. The Ministry's declaration took up the entire front
page of The Nation, the sole French-language newspaper in the
country. (NOTE: Charge's meeting today with Foreign Minister will
be reported septel. END NOTE.)
2. Post's translation of the French-language communique, as printed
in state-run media, follows:
BEGIN TEXT OF POST TRANSLATION.
Declaration of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
"The Government of the Republic of Djibouti informs the public that
a border dispute has arisen between the State of Eritrea and our
Over the past few weeks, the Obock administrative authorities have
noticed that civil engineering work was being conducted on the other
side of the border until public works vehicles (loaders, excavators
and trucks) crossed the Eritrean border and continued these works on
Djiboutian territory, precisely on the Djiboutian side of Ras
Doumeira already defined on the map.
Our Armed Forces immediately reported to the area and confirmed the
situation. They have clearly identified armed individuals and
barracks on the other side of Ras Doumeira, as well as a trench line
along the mountain ridge, a path and other embankment works in the
Diplomatic actions have immediately been undertaken to express the
Djiboutian Government's protest. Series of talks by diplomatic and
political contacts at different levels have resulted in a telephone
conversation between the two heads of state, Mr. Ismail Omar Guelleh
of Djibouti and Mr. Issayas Afwerki of Eritrea.
A spirit of appeasement and a desire for dialogue and understanding
prevailed during the talks.
The two Presidents have stressed the need to resolve the border
dispute with a meeting of the respective military authorities with
the objective of reaching an agreement on the countries' already
determined borders by using a map. The talks are scheduled for
Thursday morning in Ras Doumeira; in the event that the issue
remains, international arbitration will be sought.
In the meantime, the Djiboutian Armed Forces have resumed position
on the heights of Ras Doumeira. Discussions are taking place to try
to bring the two armies back to their initial position, i.e a few
kilometers from the border itself, to avoid any risk of clashes.
Until now, the Government of Djibouti has made considerable efforts
to not divulge the disagreement in order to first and foremost seek
a concerted and peaceful solution.
Reason prevailed thanks to President Ismail Omar Guelleh with the
aim to preserve the relations of friendship and cooperation between
the Republic of Djibouti and the State of Eritrea.
Political contacts will continue to definitely put an end to this
instability of Djibouto-Eritrean relations. "
Unfriendly activities at the border
The President in Doumeira
Yesterday, in the morning of April 22nd, the President of the
Republic and Commander in Chief of the National Army, H.E. Ismail
Omar Guelleh, visited the region of Doumeira, located in the most
north-eastern part of the country, where unfriendly activities were
reported in these recent weeks. On his arrival, President Guelleh
was greeted by the Defense Minister and the Commander of the Army.
Upon inspection of the area, the President ordered the Armed Forces
not to yield to provocations and to just protect the totality of the
territory. The Head of State returned to the capital city around 1
END TEXT OF POST TRANSLATION
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