wikileaks ico  Home papers ico  Cables mirror and Afghan War Diary privacy policy Privacy
Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05ADDISABABA3760
2005-11-03 16:20:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Addis Ababa
Cable title:  

ETHIOPIA: MELES SAYS UNSC DRAFT RESOLUTION ON

Tags:   PREL  KPKO  MARR  ET  ER  UNSC  EE  BORDER 
pdf how-to read a cable
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ADDIS ABABA 003760 

SIPDIS

FOR A/S FRAZER AND DAS YAMAMOTO FROM VICKI HUDDLESTON

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/03/2015
TAGS: PREL KPKO MARR ET ER UNSC EE BORDER
SUBJECT: ETHIOPIA: MELES SAYS UNSC DRAFT RESOLUTION ON
BORDER JEOPARDIZES PEACE

Classified By: Charge d'Affairs Vicki Huddleston for reason 1.4 (b,d)

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ADDIS ABABA 003760

SIPDIS

FOR A/S FRAZER AND DAS YAMAMOTO FROM VICKI HUDDLESTON

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/03/2015
TAGS: PREL KPKO MARR ET ER UNSC EE BORDER
SUBJECT: ETHIOPIA: MELES SAYS UNSC DRAFT RESOLUTION ON
BORDER JEOPARDIZES PEACE

Classified By: Charge d'Affairs Vicki Huddleston for reason 1.4 (b,d)


1. (C) Summary: Prime Minister Meles contended that the
drafted UNSC resolution on the Ethiopia/Eritrea border would
jeopardize any chance of a peaceful settlement. Isaias would
be emboldened -- and "rewarded for his "blackmail" -- by
getting a Security Council endorsement of demarcation of the
border without dialogue. According to the PM, the national
security of Ethiopia is more important than the views of the
UNSC. Demarcation without dialogue would lead to backlash,
he said, weakening Ethiopia and strengthening Eritrea.
Therefore under no circumstance can Ethiopia accept such a
UNSC resolution. Meles asked if the US position, which he
said had supported implementation of demarcation accompanied
by dialogue, had changed. I assured him that the US was
pressing hard to delay the resolution or modify it so that
neither side would be forced into a corner, and that we were
hopeful that the US/UN envoy would be announced soon.
Reported troop movements by both countries toward the border
and the internal unrest in Addis could cause a deterioration
of the border situation and a miscalculation by one of the
parties. British Ambassador who just met with Meles reports
that the PM say Ethiopian commanders in the military zone do
not view the situation with undue alarm, but have reinforced
and redeployed as a precaution against a misjudgement from
Isaias resulting from internal strife here and the UN draft
resolution. End Summary.


2. (C) Earlier in the week, the Foreign Minister and the
Prime Minister both expressed their extreme concerns about
the draft resolution, specifically Operative paragraphs 9 and

10. I told them both that the USG was doing its best to
delay, cancel, or modify the resolution so that it would not
close doors or limit the options of the US/UN envoy. On
November 2, in the midst of street violence (septel), the

Prime Minister called me in to again reiterate his concern
that the USG was pressing for operative paragraph(s) that
would demand the immediate demarcation of the border. I
again reassured him that this was not the case. He said that
DAS Yamamoto had told him that the US position was to
implement demarcation with dialogue, and that it was his
impression from his conversations with high level USG
officials at the annual UNGA that this was their position as
well. I spoke with DAS Yamamoto after the meet to confirm
our position and again passed on to the PM that it had not
changed. I also pointed out that we were going to move
quickly on the envoy as we are increasingly concerned about
reports that both sides are moving troops and tanks closer to
the border.


3. (C) Meles said that a resolution calling for
implementation of demarcation without preconditions could
allow Isaias to tell the UN that since it had now endorsed
his position, it was up to the UNSC ensure that demarcation
was carried out, so no envoy would be needed. Even if Isaias
agreed to the envoy, the proposed resolution would still
reward his "blackmail" of the UN. If Isaias accepted the
envoy but insisted that, as per the resolution, the
demarcation should begin immediately, the situation would
still deteriorate. Ethiopia would refuse because its very
security was at stake, and this would return the situation to
square one. The UNSC's views were of less importance to
Ethiopia than its national security, Meles warned. Ethiopia
was willing to listen to its friends and to involved itself
in give and take, but it was not appropriate to ask Ethiopia
to "break". "There is no reason to bend if demarcation means
fighting Eritrea with all the chips on their side and having
exposed ourselves to political backlash domestically -- that
would be breaking. Telling Eritrea to go to Hell would give
us a better fighting chance. We would rather fight before
making concessions that militarily debilitate us," Meles
argued. "To agree to demarcation (without dialogue) would be
like shooting ourselves in the head. Ethiopia must have
dialogue on all (relevant) issues, including the border, if a
solution is to be found."


4. (C) It is not UNMEE that keeps Eritrea from war, Meles
claimed, but the fact that Isaias does not have the
capability to defeat Ethiopia. "He doesn't want to die," the
PM added. But for Ethiopia to accept demarcation without
dialogue would be pointless, as it would destroy any chance
of peace. "It won't happen." Meles said that the Boundary
Commission is a bilateral agreement between Eritrea and
Ethiopia. The Security Council was not/not asked to
guarantee demarcation, but rather was only asked to guarantee
the cease fire Meles doubted that the Security Council had
a legal basis for enforcing demarcation.

5. (C) Meles summed up by saying that the draft resolution
would give Isaias more ammunition for another war because the
UNSC would have endorsed demarcation without dialogue.
Ethiopia's position on this point was laid out in the GOE's
five-point plan, he reiterated. "What must be done is to
prove to Isaias that other options are closed. Ethiopia
would like to have peace so we have refrained from responding
or provoking Isaias. If Isaias wants to attack, he will, but
if he decides he can't win then he will engage in give and
take," Meles said. A resolution that includes operative
paragraph 10 on demarcation is worse for Ethiopia than losing
UNMEE, because Ethiopia has managed the border in the past
without UNMEE. "But with this resolution, prospects for
peace are seriously jeopardized."


6. (C) Comment: Meles will not accept demarcation without
dialogue because he will lose critical support from both
EPRDF party members and significant portions of the
population. Although I made it clear that we had not support
OP10 of the current proposed resolution, the Ethiopian
mission in New York is reporting corridor conversation that
lead Meles to believe that the USG supports including OP10 as
a way of placating Isaias and improving the chances that he
will accept the US envoy. Meles is fond of talking about the
"red line" -- the position Ethiopia will not go beyond. This
is clearly a red line issue. From my view point, including
language in the resolution that calls for demarcation without
some reference to dialogue would reduce the US/UN envoy's
flexibility and chances of success. Given the build-up on
the front, I urge the naming of our envoy as soon as opssible
and continued efforts to delay the UNSC resolution, or ensure
that it does not do more harm than good.
HUDDLESTON