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Cablegate: Djibouti-Eritrea: Talking Points for September 17

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OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHC #9175 2602208
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O P 162201Z SEP 08
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK IMMEDIATE 3077
INFO UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS STATE 099175

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: UNSC PREL PHUM DJ ER XA XW
SUBJECT: DJIBOUTI-ERITREA: TALKING POINTS FOR SEPTEMBER 17
UNSC BRIEFING

1. USUN is instructed to draw from the following talking
points during their September 17 briefing on the
Djibouti-Eritrea border situation.

Begin points:

-- The United States would like to thank Mr. Honwana for his
briefing today and the members of
the Djibouti-Eritrean Fact Finding Mission for their
informative report.

-- The report makes one point very clear: the extent to which
Djiboutian authorities have gone and continue to go to find a
peaceful solution to this crisis. Even after Eritrean
Defense Forces occupied Djiboutian territory, Djibouti
reached out at all levels to its Eritrean neighbors to
understand the root cause of the incursion and to peacefully
settle the situation. When these efforts were rebuffed,
Djibouti reached out to the African Union; the League of Arab
States; the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development; the
African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States; and the
United Nations to help resolve the crisis. It also
approached nations that have friendly relations with Eritrea
to help facilitate a peaceful solution.

-- When the UN Security Council in its Presidential Statement
of June 12 called on both parties to "show maximum restraint
and withdraw forces to the status quo ante," the Government
of Djibouti complied and withdrew its military forces back
four to five kilometers from the disputed area.

-- Unfortunately, the Eritreans have met with contempt and
disrespect all the efforts by the Djiboutian authorities and
the international community to find a peaceful solution to
this crisis. The Eritreans even refused to issue visas to
those who only wanted to meet with them to understand their
point of view. In fact, Eritrea refuses to acknowledge their
illegal presence in Djiboutian territory or their sneak
attack on June 10 on Djiboutian forces, while the Djiboutian
soldiers were at their evening prayers, that resulted in the
two day conflict that killed 44 Djiboutian soldiers and
injured many more.

-- The United States agrees with the Fact Finding Mission's
recommendation that the Secretary-General should
offer his good offices to defuse the tensions. However,
Eritrea must be willing to engage with the UN on the issue.
As the report so eloquently states, "if Eritrea alleges an
invasion by Ethiopia or aggression by Djibouti, as it has
done, then it has an international obligation and
responsibility to cooperate with the UN to establish the
facts."

-- The United States sincerely hopes that Eritrea takes
advantage of the SYG's offer, but we agree wholly with the
report that Eritrea should be given a very finite amount of
time to cooperate with the UN, and if the UN is again
rebuffed by Eritrea, the matter should be referred to the
Security Council for appropriate action.

-- Eritrea must not be allowed to use its aggression against
Djibouti to influence actions regarding other
issues in the region. The way toward regional stability is
for Eritrea to enter into direct dialogue on divisive
issues.

-- Djibouti has acted admirably to this point, but Eritrea
hasn't left them with many options. The people and
Government of Djibouti are looking to the UN and the
international community to help them resolve the situation
peacefully. The UN and especially the Security Council has
an obligation to assist them in this goal. If we fail
to do so, we risk yet another costly and tragic war in the
Horn of Africa.
RICE

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