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Cablegate: Ethiopia Supports United Nations Military Observer Mission

VZCZCXRO4708
OO RUEHROV
DE RUEHDS #1754/01 1790818
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 270818Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1123
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 7409
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 SECTION 01 OF 02 ADDIS ABABA 001754

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPKO PREL UN ET
SUBJECT: Ethiopia Supports United Nations Military Observer Mission
on Ethiopian Side

Summary
-------

1. (SBU) Ethiopian Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin called together
the Ambassadors representing the Permanent Five (P5) UN Security
Council (UNSC) countries to highlight Ethiopia's concerns regarding
the current draft UNSC resolution on the Eritrea-Ethiopia border.
Seyoum cautioned that, if changes are not made, Ethiopia could join
Eritrea in opposing a United Nations (UN) military observer (MilOb)
mission to the region. Seyoum also underscored that, unlike
Eritrea, Ethiopia supports a follow-on UN deployment after the end
of the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE), and
the Algiers Agreement as the basis for resolution of the border
dispute, and stressed that ultimately it is up to the parties
themselves to implement the final and binding demarcation of the
border. End Summary.

Adjust the UNSC Resolution
--------------------------
2. (SBU) Ethiopian Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin, accompanied by
the Directors General for International Organizations and the
Americas Divisions, stressed to the Ambassadors representing the P5
countries on June 24 that changes must be made to the proposed UNSC
resolution on the Eritrea-Ethiopia border. Specifically, Seyoum
asked for deletion of reference to the "demarcation" decision by the
Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC) in PP 3 because it
appears as if the UN is endorsing "virtual demarcation" of the
border, which Ethiopia opposes. Seyoum suggested that the UNSC
emphasize that ultimately the implementation of a lasting and
sustainable peace and the demarcation of the border lies with the
parties themselves. The UN cannot implement.

3. (SBU) In OP 2, Seyoum said the Ethiopians support the second
option of draft language, which is broad and general and allows for
discussion of the type of UN military observer mission that would be
placed on the Ethiopian side.

4. (SBU) Seyoum stressed that PP3 is a "deal breaker" and if no
adjustments are made Ethiopia could join Eritrea in rejecting a
follow-on UN force after the end of UNMEE. Seyoum emphasized that
Eritrea still refuses to talk to the UN and it was Eritrea which
threw UNMEE out. Ethiopia has been receptive to the UN, Seyoum
added, and remains engaged and supportive of UNMEE. Seyoum
concluded by stating that given Ethiopia's receptiveness to
proposals from the Security Council and given Eritrea's hostile
approach to the UN, Ethiopia hopes the UNSC will be open to and
support Ethiopia's request for adjustments to PP 3.

Support UN MilOb and Algiers Accord
-----------------------------------

5. (SBU) Seyoum stated emphatically that Ethiopia supports a
follow-on UN force after the end of UNMEE in response to Eritrea's
ouster of UNMEE troops and restrictions on UNMEE operations. Seyoum
did not want to comment on whether the Ethiopian government (GOE)
would support a "Political Mission" or a "Peacekeeping (PKO)
Mission" as the basis for the follow-on force. He said Ethiopia
would leave that determination up to the UN, but noted that Ethiopia
supported both UN troops and UN political officers or envoys as part
of the UN operation. Seyoum also hinted that Ethiopia preferred the
follow-on UN MilOb mission to be entirely on the Ethiopian side of
the border.

6. (SBU) Seyoum seemed to qualify the GOE's letter to the UNSC on
the Algiers Accord. Seyoum made it clear that the Algiers Accord is
the basis for resolution of the border dispute but added that the UN
must realize that it is Eritrea which undercuts and makes void the
precepts of the Algiers Peace Accord and the Cessation of
Hostilities Agreement through Eritrea's militarization of the
Temporary Security Zone (TSZ) and ouster of UNMEE forces.

7. (SBU) Ethiopia wants to engage positively the international
community and the UN, Seyoum said. He reiterated that, given
Ethiopia's openness, UNSC countries should be equally receptive in
considering and acting on Ethiopia's requests for adjustments to the
draft resolution and in working with Ethiopia on resolution of the
border problem.

Comment
-------

8. (SBU) The Ethiopians feel that the UN must be a neutral but very
important factor in the peace process. Rather than support the
EEBC, the GOE wants the UN to encourage and push the parties to

ADDIS ABAB 00001754 002 OF 002


resolve the border issue themselves. Post believes that a follow-on
UN force, while not a deterrent to conflict, makes sense and commits
Ethiopia, at least, to remain in the Algiers process and maintains
the interest of the international community in the border issue.
End comment.

YAMAMOTO

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