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Cablegate: Ethiopia to Ignore Unsc, for Now, On the Border

VZCZCXRO7352
PP RUEHROV
DE RUEHDS #1367 1400837
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 190837Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0651
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 7360
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

UNCLAS ADDIS ABABA 001367

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR AF/E, INR/AA, AND PRM/AFR
LONDON, PARIS, ROME FOR AFRICA WATCHER
USCENTCOM AND CJTF-HOA FOR POLAD

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPKO PBTS PGOV ET ER
SUBJECT: Ethiopia to ignore UNSC, for now, on the border

Summary
-------

1. (SBU) Ethiopian State Minister Tekeda Alemu told Ambassador May
17 that Ethiopia was deeply frustrated that Eritrea was allowed to
restrict UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) troop movement
and end the UNMEE mission without consequence, thus negating the
Cessation of Hostilities Agreement, the fundamental treaty ending
the Ethiopia-Eritrea border war and binding both Eritrea and
Ethiopia to the Algiers Accord process for resolving their bilateral
problems and the border dispute. Tekeda said discussions by the
UNSC of the Belgium proposals and a speech by DPKO Under Secretary
Guehenno on April 22 convey to Ethiopia that the UNSC will not
reaffirm and "restore" the conditions established by the Cessation
of Hostilities Agreement (a neutral demilitarized Temporary Security
Zone, troops from both sides positioned away from the TSZ and
commitment not to use violence). For now, Ethiopia will ignore the
UNSC or remain quiet on UNSC proposals. Dropping out of the Algiers
process remains an option for Ethiopia if they feel Eritrean action,
such as encroachment into Djiboutian territory and continued actions
along the border, are not addressed by the UNSC. End Summary.

Cessation of Hostilities Agreement is Abrogated
--------------------------------------------- --

2. (SBU) State Minister Tekeda, Ethiopia's point person for the
border issue, remarked to Ambassador that the Ethiopian Government
(GoE) is deeply frustrated that the UNSC took no action to curb
Eritrea's actions to restrict UNMEE troop activities and end the
UNMEE mission. He said Foreign Minister Seyoum and Prime Minister
Meles were particularly disappointed with UNDPKO Under Secretary
Guehenno's speech to the UNSC on April 22 and what they view as the
UN seeking to move beyond the UNMEE operation to other measures that
could be taken to move the peace process forward. Tekeda stressed
that there can be no forward movement on the resolution of the
border without the firm commitment of the parties, the UN, and
Witnesses to the Algiers Accord to support the two basic agreements
(Algiers Accord and Cessation of Hostilities Agreement) which bind
the parties together to resolve themselves the problems that divide
them and the border dispute. Further, the UNSC discussions on the
Belgium proposals also ignore the sanctity of the two agreements.
Tekeda's point was that you cannot get to point C (sustainable
peace) without ensuring that points A (Algiers Accord) and B
(Cessation of Hostilities Agreement) are complied with by both
parties.

3. (SBU) Ambassador urged Tekeda that the GoE should not drop out of
the Algiers process because then the UNSC would clearly focus on
Ethiopia as ending the peace process and will overlook Eritrea's
indiscretions, no matter how serious they may be to future UN
peacekeeping operations. Tekeda responded that for now, the GoE
would remain quiet, not commenting on any UNSC activities and
proposals. Dropping out of the Algiers process remains an option,
however, Tekeda noted.

4. (SBU) Should UN DPA Under Secretary Lyn Pascoe visit the region,
Tekeda said the GoE would meet with and discuss any issue with
Ambassador Pascoe, but would not commit to any proposal at this
time, especially any request for a UN observer mission to be placed
only in Ethiopia. Tekeda said earlier, the GoE was very supportive
of this idea, as well as proposing other ideas to move the border
discussions forward including normalization talks with Eritrea, a
long-standing Ethiopian position, and the selection of a special
envoy.

Comment
-------

5. (SBU) Consideration of any UNSC resolution on the border or
adoption of any Belgium proposals, for now, would be
counterproductive given Ethiopia's current frustration level. A
visit by Ambassador Pascoe or other UN officials, prior to any
action on the border, could be helpful in engaging the Ethiopians,
defusing problems between the GoE and the UN, and calming their
angst with the UNSC over the handling of Eritrea's treatment of the
UNMEE troops and its mission. Ambassador reviewed the border issue
with the ambassadors from Italy, UK, and France, all of whom
expressed frustration with problems in moving the peace process
forward. End Comment.

YAMAMOTO

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