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Cablegate: Ethiopia Now Opposes Un Follow-On Mission, for Now

VZCZCXRO6414
PP RUEHROV
DE RUEHDS #1918 1961413
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 141413Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1285
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
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 7437

UNCLAS ADDIS ABABA 001918

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPKO PBTS PGOV MOPS ET
SUBJECT: Ethiopia Now Opposes UN Follow-on Mission, for Now

REF: ADDIS 1856

Summary:
--------
1. (SBU) Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles told Ambassador that
Ethiopia now opposes any UN follow-on mission upon the conclusion of
UN Mission to Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) operations on July 31.
Meles echoed the Foreign Minister's position (reftel)that Eritrea
had so completely undercut the Algiers process and was in clear
violation of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement without any
sanctions or pressure from the Security Council that Ethiopia did
not see why a UN follow-on Mission only in Ethiopia would be useful.
A follow-on Mission would be used by some Security Council members
to push Ethiopia on the border dispute without any consequences for
Eritrea. To avoid the UNSC giving Eritrea "unnecessary attention"
and complicit acceptance, or at least minimal criticism, for
limiting UN operations while Ethiopia continues engaging the UNSC
without much benefit, Meles believes allowing UNMEE to end with no
follow-on mission would be the best course. The Ambassador argued
against it because it would deny Ethiopia's ability to articulate
and get its position heard by the UNSC. Discussions with the
Ethiopians on a follow-on mission or post UNMEE operation will have
to wait until after July 31 expiration of the UNMEE mandate. End
Summary.

No UN follow-on Mission:
------------------------
2. (SBU) Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles told Ambassador July 11,
with DATT and another U.S. military officer present, that Ethiopia
did not see any use in a UN follow-on mission only in Ethiopia after
UNMEE's mandate expired on July 31. Echoing what Foreign Minister
Seyoum told the Ambassador last week (reftel), the Prime Minister
explained that Ethiopia now saw no benefit to such a UN mission.
Meles said he saw some members of the UNSC using a follow-on mission
as a means to hold Ethiopia, but not Eritrea, to a resolution of the
border. A follow-on mission would have no consequences for Eritrea
as Eritrea can unilaterally criticize Ethiopia without pressure from
the UNSC.

3. (SBU) Further, Meles said Ethiopia was perplexed by the lack of
UNSC action against Eritrea given its clear violation of the
Cessation of Hostilities Agreement, ouster of U.S. and European
peacekeepers last year and now ouster of UNMEE. Eritrean actions
have made the Algiers Accord unworkable and unenforceable. Ethiopia
has come to the conclusion that a follow-on mission only in Ethiopia
would yield no benefit to Ethiopia. The continued discussion of the
border has encouraged Eritrea to act recklessly through incursion of
Djiboutian territory, infringement of Ethiopian territory, raising
border tensions through militarizing the neutral Temporary Security
Zone (TSZ) and confronting Ethiopian troops. The best avenue for
Ethiopia is to let the UN dissolve UNMEE. With no UNMEE or UNSC
discussion of the border, Meles said he hoped the UN would then
focus on the more important problems in the Sudan and Somalia.
Minimizing "attention" on the border would deny President Isaias a
"stage" to take provocative actions and Meles believed this
situation would then help lessen tensions along the border.

4. (SBU) Meles said Ethiopia would continue to welcome any envoy or
team from the UN and remains open, at a later date, to discussions
with the UN on the border issue and, more important, direct
discussions with Eritrea to resolve their bilateral problems. Meles
added that Isaias is avoiding discussion of the border and trying to
normalize relations as articulated and supported by the witnesses in
February 2006. Letting UNMEE's mandate expire and a period of
"quiet" in which the border issue was not discussed may help calm
the situation and force Isaias to deal with Ethiopia in a
constructive manner rather than a hostile confrontation.

5. (SBU) Comment: Post still believes it would be useful for the
UNSC to dispatch a team to the parties, even though Eritrea would
likely reject seeing a UN team, to discuss the post UNMEE period and
the conditions under which the UN can reengage the parties. The
Ambassador pressed Prime Minister Meles to accept a UN follow-on
mission because it would help articulate for the UNSC concerns held
by Ethiopia while Eritrea would be viewed as non-compliant on the
border. Discussions on a post-UNMEE scenario (with Ethiopia) will
have to wait until after the expiration of the UNMEE mandate on July
31. End Comment.
YAMAMOTO

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