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Cablegate: President Isaias Speaks On Border and On Region

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DE RUEHAE #0690 2370800
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 250800Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY ASMARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8391
INFO RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 5945
RUEHDJ/AMEMBASSY DJIBOUTI 2831
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4623
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 1192
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1365
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC

UNCLAS ASMARA 000690

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

LONDON FOR AFRICA WATCHERS
PARIS FOR AFRICA WATCHERS

E.O. 12958: DECL: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PINR ER
SUBJECT: PRESIDENT ISAIAS SPEAKS ON BORDER AND ON REGION


1. Summary: In a speech given August 24 to students in the northern
Eritrean town of Nakfa, President Isaias continued to blame the US
for lack of progress on border demarcation and insisted that Eritrea
will find its own solution to the impasse. In his standard diatribe
against the Ethiopian TPLF regime, he referred to Ethiopia's
involvement with Somalia, and contended that Ethiopia is using
Somalia to detract attention from Ethiopia's internal conflicts. He
applauded Eritrea's "good neighbor" approach to foreign policy and
claimed responsibility for promoting peace and stability in the
region. For evidence of the success of this policy, Isaias pointed
at recent progress towards peace in Sudan and Somalia. End
Summary.

2. Comment: President Isaias was entirely predictable in his speech.
He blamed external forces, namely the US, for lack of progress on
the border, with no acknowledgement of efforts undertaken by the
international community to progress toward demarcation. In
addition, President Isaias continues to see himself as a player in
the region, taking credit for success in Sudan. His claim of
"progress toward peace" in Somalia is somewhat confusing given the
situation reported on the ground there. Perhaps by promoting this
role in Somalia, he is acknowledging Eritrean involvement on the
ground. End Comment.

3. English translation of speech summary from the Government of
Eritrea's official website, www.shabait.com follows below.

Begin text:
President Isaias Afwerki said that Eritrea is currently on a strong
footing in the economic, political, social and security domains. He
made the remarks in a briefing he gave yesterday at the School of
Social Sciences in Nakfa on the prevailing situation, present
challenges and prospects".

Stating that these achievements were made possible thanks to the
strategies adopted and implemented over the past eight years, the
President stated that the action program for economic development
and the investment made are now in a reliable stage. He further
elaborated that our capacity to meet any challenges has reached the
highest stage.

On the border issue, President Isaias explained that no progress has
been made due to complications created by external forces,
especially the US Administration and that time and history would
provide their own answers. President Isaias went on to assert that
Eritrea would bring about a reliable and guaranteed solution to this
problem in which future generations would lead a secure life.

Regarding political developments in Ethiopia vis-?-vis its impact on
Eritrea's internal situation, the President noted that the TPLF
regime has ceased to be a legal political force and has subsequently
turned into a mercenary clique. In this connection, he pointed out
that it is no more possible to use Eritrea as a means of conducting
agitation and sacrificial lamb in Ethiopia.

With regard to the situation in Somalia, The TPLF regime is
presently resorting to futile maneuvers alleging that "terrorism
prevails in that country" and that it "poses a threat to Ethiopia,"
in a bid to divert the attention of the Ethiopian people from the
internal crisis and weaken the popular uprising. In this respect,
President Isaias noted that such attempts on the part of the regime
reflect the acute desperation it is in, as well as a vivid
demonstration of its ultimate doom.

Explaining that Eritrea's diplomatic strategy, being a continuation
of internal strategy namely fostering good-neighborliness
characterized by peace and stability, President Isaias underlined
that this country has been exerting relentless efforts to promote
peace and stability in the region. He further noted that these
unremitting endeavors have already borne fruitful outcome and cited
the peace progress in Sudan and Somalia, as well as developments in
Eritrea's relations with neighboring countries.

President Isaias also gave extensive briefings to questions from the
5th graduating batch of the School of Social Sciences on the
objective situation in the Homeland. End Text.


McIntyre

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