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Cablegate: Djibouti: Talking Points for October 23 Briefing

VZCZCXYZ0014
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHC #2515 2961735
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O P 221730Z OCT 08
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK IMMEDIATE 3539
INFO UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS STATE 112515

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: UNSC PREL PHUM DJ ER XA XW
SUBJECT: DJIBOUTI: TALKING POINTS FOR OCTOBER 23 BRIEFING

REF: STATE 99175

1. USUN may draw from the following talking points and those
in reftel for their October 23 briefing on the
situation between Djibouti and Eritrea. USUN should seek to
speak last so they can adequately determine if the "If
Raised" point is needed.

Begin points:

-- The United States would like to thank President Ismail
Omar Guelleh for traveling to New York to brief the
Council on the continuing crisis in Djibouti. The United
States remains extremely concerned about the military
occupation of Djiboutian territory by Eritrean Defense
Forces. Today, I would like to make two (three, if "If
Raised" point used) important points.

-- First, the Djiboutian government is to be commended for
their commitment to finding a peaceful solution to this
crisis. The UN Fact Finding Mission to Djibouti has clearly
documented the extent to which the Djiboutian government has
worked to resolve this crisis peacefully. The government of
Eritrea, however, has flouted international law by invading
its neighbor in violation of the UN Charter. This incursion
sparked an armed conflict that left 44 Djiboutian soldiers
dead and many more missing and presumed to be imprisoned by
the Eritrean Defense Forces. The Government of Eritrea's
failure even to acknowledge the existence of the problem, let
alone the seriousness of the situation, is an insult both to
the people of Djibouti and the international community's
efforts to find a peaceful solution to the crisis.

-- Second, the Security Council should take appropriate
action to help Djibouti find a resolution to this crisis.
Since Eritrea refuses to engage on the issue, Djibouti has
very few options available to resolve the situation
peacefully. The UN's Fact Finding Mission has recommended
the UN dispatch a high-level envoy to the area to engage with
Eritrea to find a peaceful solution to the crisis. The Fact
Finding Mission further noted, "in the event that the offer
by the UN is again rebuffed by Eritrea, the matter should be
referred to the Security Council for appropriate action."
The seriousness of these recommendations follows from the
report's finding that "(a) sovereign country is being drawn
into a crippling and unaffordable military mobilization, to
deal with a situation that may ultimately threaten national,
regional, and international peace."

In line with the report's recommendations, the United States
calls on the UN to dispatch a high-level envoy immediately.
Eritrea should be given a definitive time-frame in which to
accept the assistance of the UN,
the AU, or any other state, organization, or body that is
acceptable to both parties to find a peaceful solution to
the crisis. However, if Eritrea rebuffs any such efforts at
resolution, the Council must react appropriately. If we fail
to do so, not only do we risk yet another costly and tragic
war in an area that has already suffered tremendously, but we
risk the credibility of this great body.

If Raised (to be deployed only if another speaker tries to
suggest a link between the Djibouti-Eritrea crisis and the
Ethiopia-Eritrea conflict): Finally, there can be no link
between the crisis on the border between Djibouti and Eritrea
and the Ethiopia-Eritrea border impasse. Eritrea cannot be
allowed to use its invasion of its sovereign and peaceful
neighbor to affect settlement of another dispute.

end points
RICE

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