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Cablegate: Afp Reporter Ordered to Leave Eritrea

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RR RUEHROV
DE RUEHAE #0950 3480524
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 140524Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY ASMARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9334
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 1552
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RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUEPADJ/CJTF-HOA J2X CAMP LEMONIER DJ
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUMICEA/JICCENT MACDILL AFB FL

UNCLAS ASMARA 000950

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM KPAO PGOV ECPS ER
SUBJECT: AFP Reporter Ordered to Leave Eritrea

1. (SBU) On December 11, AFP stringer and British national Peter
Martell was ordered to appear at the office of Eritrean Minister of
Information Ali Abdu to discuss his reporting activities in Eritrea.
Mr. Abdu objected to an article Mr. Martell filed on November 22
entitled, "Looming Threat of Renewed War Casts Pall over Eritrea,"
in which Mr. Martell quoted an unnamed ex-fighter from the Eritrean
struggle for independence. The ex-fighter made negative remarks
about the current state of Eritrea and implied that the GSE's
foreign policy regarding the border was ineffective. Mr. Abdu asked
Mr. Martell to reveal the name of the ex-fighter, but Mr. Martell
refused.

2. (SBU) Mr. Abdu then gave Mr. Martell a letter stating that he was
no longer allowed to report in Eritrea and was required to leave the
country. When asked whether he could apply to return in the future,
Mr. Abdu informed Mr. Martell that he could come back to Eritrea but
would not be allowed to report. Mr. Martell's expulsion leaves two
stringers from western news agencies (Reuters and VOA) in Eritrea.
MCMULLEN

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