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Cablegate: Unmee Consultations, May 14, 2008

VZCZCXRO3273
PP RUEHTRO
DE RUEHC #0582/01 1341723
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P R 131715Z MAY 08
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 1755
INFO UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 4890
RUEHAE/AMEMBASSY ASMARA 5829

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 STATE 050582

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL UNSC KPKO ET ER
SUBJECT: UNMEE CONSULTATIONS, MAY 14, 2008


1. This is an action message. USUN is instructed to draw
from the following discussion elements during the UN Mission
in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) consultations on
May 14, 2008.

Begin discussion elements:

-We welcome the Presidential Statement of April 30, reject
Eritrea,s claim that it maintained good cooperation with
UNMEE, and again reiterate the Security Council's
condemnation of Eritrea's lack of cooperation, which has
undermined the Mission's mandate for years, and as the
February 15 Statement by the President of the Security
Council noted, gravely contravenes UN Security Council
resolutions. There can be no cause or justification for
Eritrea,s abusive conduct towards the Mission and its
personnel.

-We remind the Security Council that the restrictions Eritrea
has placed on UNMEE represent a serious threat to the
credibility of this body, and pose serious implications for
the safety and security of peacekeepers deployed elsewhere.
The U.S. holds Eritrea responsible for the safety and
security of the rear guard, remaining UNMEE civilian
personnel, and any remaining UN and contingency-owned
equipment in its territory.

-The relocation of most UNMEE personnel from Eritrea has
removed an important element of stability in the region:
Eritrea has remilitarized the Temporary Security Zone (TSZ);
diplomatic efforts have yielded no progress; tensions along
the border are high; and there is no communication between
the parties.

-It is essential that we and the parties reaffirm and remain
committed to the Algiers Agreements and Cessation of
Hostilities Agreement, and that Ethiopia and Eritrea make
efforts to implement them completely. We call upon the
parties to not resort to the use or threat of force.

-To put this commitment into practice, we call upon the
parties to agree to meet periodically, under the auspices of
the UN if desired, to exchange information on military and
other activities along the border. This is a way to avoid
misunderstandings and address incidents. The parties should
also agree on mutual redeployments in sensitive areas.

-Additionally, we call upon the parties to take advantage of
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's offer of his good offices as
a means to facilitate dialogue.

-The Council must recognize the facts on the ground, and
should expeditiously make an affirmative action to end UNMEE,
definitively closing the books on this operation while
thanking UNMEE's troop contributors for their service.
Ideally, the Council would immediately establish a follow on
UN presence that can most effectively assist the parties to
resolve their impasse.

-We appreciate Belgium's initiative to develop a way forward.
A UN presence in the border region may be helpful since it
could focus on monitoring activities in the TSZ and provide a
channel of communications between the parties.

-We would consider an observer mission that is based only in
Ethiopia with a primary focus on observation, to the extent
possible, of the areas from which UNMEE was compelled to
relocate. We are also willing to consider other arrangements
that are consistent with the Report of the Secretary General
and agreeable to the parties. A decision to establish a UN
presence, however, should be made quickly.

-One element of the proposal, a task force on demarcation,
raises questions. Our focus should be on bringing the
parties into dialogue on how to implement the decisions of
the Ethiopia Eritrea Boundary Commission (EEBC) to develop a
workable boundary regime in accordance with the Algiers
Agreement--it is up to the parties to decide how to implement
the EEBC decision. The international community should stand
ready to facilitate these efforts in a strictly non-partisan
fashion. However, we fully agree that the parties must
engage on issues that prevent normalized relations. This is
the key to reducing tensions and strengthening regional
stability. Unless this occurs, there can be no progress.

-The Road Map proposal and appointment of an envoy may prove

STATE 00050582 002 OF 002


to be a helpful way forward, but should have the support of
both parties. Additionally, we would appreciate
clarification about how this way forward would relate to
Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon,s offer of his good offices,
and how it could help to resolve the impasse.

-We would like to conclude by again extending our thanks to
the Troop Contributing Countries. We recognize their
contributions, and note their sustained support even during
times of increased insecurity of the Mission.

-The U.S. also again 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.

End discussion elements.
RICE

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