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2005-11-01 14:52:00
Embassy Addis Ababa
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 ADDIS ABABA 003747 



E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/01/2015




1. (C) On November 1, Mr. Grum Abay, the MFA's Director
General for Europe and America, presented Charge and P/E
Counselor with the text of a letter dated October 31,
addressed by Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin to the members of
the UN Security Council and to UN SYG Annan. Grum
underscored the need to focus on Eritrea's restrictions on
the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea's (UNMEE) and argued
that UNSC consultations may be addressing the wrong issues.

2. (SBU) In its letter, the GOE asserts that Eritrea's
"provocative activities" are violations of the June 2000
Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities and the December 2000
Algiers Accord, and "a serious breech of an arrangement on
the basis of which Ethiopia agreed to redeploy its troops."
Eritrea's actions should therefore serve as "a valid cause
for triggering the invocation of Chapter VII of the Charter
against the violator." In contrast, the GOE notes its
continued support for and cooperation with UNMEE, and notes
the Council's obligation to assist UNMEE and prevent its
withdrawal. The GOE reiterates its commitment to seek
dialogue with Eritrea "for the implementation of demarcation"
of their disputed border. While pledging that Ethiopia "will
not allow itself to be easily provoked by Eritrea", the GOE
warns that "Ethiopia will nonetheless continue to be vigilant
to protect its territorial integrity and to take all
necessary steps in this regard".

3. (C) COMMENT: One such step the GOE is taking is the
deployment of additional reserves. On October 27, Ethiopia
PM Meles Zenawi informed Charge that over the next ten days,
Ethiopia would deploy an additional 30,000 troops to the
border area, in response to concerns that UNMEE no longer
served as an effective tripwire (ref B). END COMMENT.

4. (SBU) Full text of the GOE's October 31 statement to the
UNSC follows below.


October 31, 2005

Mr. President,

I have the honour to write to you to lay out my Government's
view on the latest development in connection with the
violation of the State of Eritrea of the Cessation of
Hostilities Agreement of June 18, 2000 between our two
countries. The State of Eritrea has absolutely no
justifiable reason for violating the integrity of the
Temporary Security Zone (TSZ) and no valid justification for
frustration over the status of the peace process. The
prevailing stalemate, despite Eritrea's protestation to the
contrary and its feigned indignation, is its own creation,
not that of Ethiopia.

Ethiopia, Mr. President, has done everything in its power to
ensure the full and expeditious implementation of the Algiers

Agreement. It is no secret, we were not pleased with the
decision of the Boundary Commission. That view, we will
never change. It would be mendacious on our part to state
the contrary. The decision was unfair, unjust and can be
defended by no one familiar with the situation and who at the
same time took his/her responsibility seriously.

But all this, Mr. President, is behind us now. No matter how
initially we may have been indignant, we have now, in the
interest of peace and having weighed all relevant factors,
decided to accept in principle the decision of the EEBC. We
have repeatedly stated that accepting the decision in
principle does not mean going back to the drawing board, and
it does not imply that we are introducing a pre-condition.
Moreover, Ethiopia's request for dialogue in connection with
the implementation of the demarcation is consistent with the
international demarcation practice.

The rationale for the Ethiopian position can be set forth in
simple terms. The crisis between Ethiopia and Eritrea did
not grow out of the dispute over the boundary. Accordingly,
it is either naive of dishonest to claim that normalization
and durable peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea could be
achieved with the completion only of the demarcation process.
There are some more weighty issues between Ethiopia and
Eritrea which need to be addressed and which were at the root
of the crisis between the two countries. It is this
conviction that prompted Ethiopia to present a comprehensive
peace proposal which is still on the table.

Ethiopia is committed to dialogue between our two countries
for the implementation of demarcation, to achieve
normalization and to address all issues that have been at the
root of the crisis and which will not go away with
demarcation of the boundary only. We want to reaffirm to the
Security Council our preparedness for dialogue with Eritrea,
including at the highest level. Dialogue, Mr. President, is
not a favour that each of us make to the other, or to the
international community. In so far as both of us have
primary responsibility for the demarcation of the boundary
and for normalizing our relations, dialogue is an obligation
that falls on both of us.

It is seen in this light that the present tension
deliberately created by Eritrea is so unfortunate and
regrettable. It is also fraught with danger.

Eritrea, Mr. President, has always been confrontational and
provocative. The Algiers Agreement enjoins the two parties
in Article 1, paragraph 1 "to refrain from the use or threat
of force". This obligation is the foundation of that
Agreement and all other provisions set forth therein. But
Eritrea has repeatedly violated this key provision of the
Algiers Agreement, the latest violation having taken place in
the course of the general debate during the 60th Session of
the General Assembly when the head of the Eritrean delegation
used the General Assembly podium to put out a declaration of
war against Ethiopia. We did not respond in kind.

But Eritrea's provocative activities have not been limited to
issuing declarations of war. It has not been only Sudan as
well that has been at the receiving end of Eritrea's
gangster-like activities. Eritrea has been organizing,
training, and then sending into Ethiopia all sorts of
gangsters and terrorist elements to cause havoc in our
country and to cause political instability. Eritrea has been
doing this without let up throughout the peace process.
However, apart from doing all that is in our power to stop
the infiltration from Eritrea, not once have we responded in
kind to this war-like Eritrean behaviour.

Eritrea has now taken its irresponsible behaviour to a new
height. The latest steps taken by Eritrea to cripple UNMEE
and degrade its capacity for monitoring the TSZ, constitute a
gross violation of the Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities.
Here again, it is not for the first time that Eritrea is
violating the integrity of the TSZ. Eritrea has been
bringing into the TSZ its regular army under the guise of the
police and the militia beginning from the very establishment
of the TSZ. But the latest development represents a
violation of greater magnitude, for what Eritrea has embarked
upon is a massive violation of the integrity of the TSZ to
the point of making the zone meaningless as a line of
separation of the two armies. Moreover, what is manifestly
clear in all this is the Eritrean attempt to get the Security
Council to do its bidding by holding UNMEE personnel hostage.
This should not be allowed to succeed.

The Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities is unambiguous with
respect to the obligation of the Security Council should one
or both parties violate the commitment made to respect the
ceasefire. In Article 14(a) the Council along with the
African regional organization (the OAU then, now the AU) have
agreed to commit themselves to guarantee the respect for this
commitment by the two parties through, as the Agreement puts
it succinctly:

measures to be taken by the international community should
one or both of the parties violate this commitment, including
appropriate measures to be taken under Chapter VII of the
United Nations Charter by the UN Security Council.

Accordingly, the violation of the ceasefire Agreement by
Eritrea cannot be a valid cause for UNMEE to withdraw. It
should rather be a valid cause for triggering the invocation
of Chapter VII of the Charter against the violence.
One thing should be clear in this regard, Mr. President. The
TSZ is an area created, upon the redeployment of Ethiopian

troops, and handed over to UNMEE by those same Ethiopian
troops. As such, the protection of the integrity of the TSZ
has no substitute for peace. As things stand now, let alone
ensuring the integrity of the TSZ, UNMEE has been bereft of
the capacity even to protest the security of its own
personnel. Notwithstanding all this, Ethiopia has taken no
retaliatory action. We have continued to co-operate fully
with UNMEE. We wish to seize this opportunity to reassure
the Troop Contributing Countries and the Security Council
that we will continue to do whatever is humanly possible to
support UNMEE fulfill its obligation. Ethiopia is fully
aware of its heavy responsibility, and will not allow itself
to be easily provoked by Eritrea.

However, while always cognizant of its obligation, Ethiopia
will nonetheless continue to be vigilant to protect its
territorial integrity and to take all necessary steps in this
regard. We have both the capacity and determination to
defend our legitimate rights and our peace. We have been and
we will continue to be patient and hopefully this would not
be viewed as a sign of weakness. But Ethiopia's effort
should be supported by the Security Council. The Council's
responsibility for international peace and security makes
this imperative. We are at present in a situation where the
TSZ has been undermined, and UNMEE's monitoring capacity is

totally degraded. The Council cannot ignore that this is a
serious breach of an arrangement on the basis of which
Ethiopia agreed to redeploy its troops. UNMEE has an
obligation to monitor the TSZ and the Council has an
obligation to help UNMEE carry out its mandate. It is also
unwise and inappropriate to allow Eritrea to think that its
attempt at blackmailing the Security Council by holding UNMEE
personnel hostage, would work.

Please accept, Mr. President, the assurances of my highest