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Cablegate: Eritrea Seeks "Continuous Engagement" with U.S.

INFO LOG-00 AID-00 AMAD-00 CIAE-00 INL-00 DODE-00 ANHR-00
PERC-00 DS-00 FBIE-00 VCI-00 H-00 TEDE-00 INR-00
L-00 MOFM-00 MOF-00 VCIE-00 NSAE-00 OIG-00 GIWI-00
FMPC-00 SP-00 SSO-00 SS-00 SCRS-00 DSCC-00 PRM-00
SAS-00 FA-00 SWCI-00 PESU-00 /000W

P 270908Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY ASMARA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0563
INFO DARFUR COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS E F T O ASMARA 000373


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL ER SU
SUBJECT: ERITREA SEEKS "CONTINUOUS ENGAGEMENT" WITH U.S.

1. (SBU) AMBASSADOR CALLED IN
------------------------------

Foreign Minister Osman Saleh convoked the ambassador October
26 and spoke at length about Eritrea's (professed) view of
the need for the United States and Eritrea to improve
relations for each country's mutual benefit. He
characterized the September discussions with Ambassador Rice
and Assistant Secretary Carson in New York as "welcomed and
constructive." The foreign minister said he appreciated the
Secretary's September 26 invitation to the meeting on food
security, but regretted he had been unable to speak with her
on the margins of that event.

2. (SBU) SIDEBARS AT ABUJA MEETING ON DARFUR?
---------------------------------------------

The foreign minister, who was about to depart for the AU's
Abuja conference on Darfur, asked if the embassy could pass
the word that he and Yemane Ghebreab would welcome the chance
to discuss Darfur and other Sudan issues with "Johnnie
Carson, General Gration, or any other U.S. official"
available in Abuja. Acknowledging Eritrea's role in helping
broker the 2006 Eastern Sudan Peace Agreement, the ambassador
noted that both the United States and Eritrea had an interest
in its successful implementation but cautioned that efforts
by outsiders to manipulate events in Sudan would only
complicate Sudan's already difficult road ahead.

3. (SBU) FM REQUESTS MEETING WITH THE SECRETARY
--------------------------------------------- --

Post understands that the Government of Eritrea has sent a
letter to the Secretary via private channels requesting a
meeting for the foreign minister and Yemane Ghebreab. On
October 26 the foreign minister handed the ambassador a
diplomatic note (text below) containing a similar request.
The ambassador committed only to forwarding the request,
suggesting that concrete actions, such as those discussed
with A/S Carson and Ambassador Rice in New York, would
demonstrate that Eritrea's stated willingness to improve
relations was genuine.

BEGIN SUBSTANTIVE TEXT:

It is to be recalled that H.E. Osman Saleh Minister of
Foreign Affairs of the State of Eritrea, met and held
constructive dialogue with Ambassador Susan Rice, Permanent
Representative of the United States of America to the UN, on
the sidelines of the 64th session of the UN General Assembly
in New York.

The Eritrean government realizes the importance of continuous
engagement with the United States government. In this vein,
a delegation led by H.E. Mr. Osman Saleh is planning to visit
the United States to hold meetings with Ms. Hillary Clinton,
Secretary of State and other U.S. Government officials. The
Ministry requests the cooperation of the Embassy in arranging
the meeting during mid of November 2009.

END TEXT.

McMULLEN

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