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 003864
DEPT FOR AF DAS YAMAMOTO, EREDDICK
E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/11/2015 TAGS: PREL MARR KPKO PGOV ET ER UNSC EE BORDER SUBJECT: ETHIOPIA: STATE MINISTER VOICES CONCERN ON UNSC RESOLUTION ON BORDER
Classified By: Charge d'Affaires Vicki Huddleston for reasons 1.4(b) an d (d)
1. (C) SUMMARY: State Minister of Foreign Affairs Tekeda Alemu summoned the Charge Nov. 15 to pass a copy of a letter from Minister of Foreign Affairs Seyoum Mesfin to UN Security Council President Denisov on the Council's pending resolution regarding the Ethio-Eritrean border. Tekeda argued that the pending resolution does not further a solution to the border crisis. He reiterated fears that Ethiopia would once again be taken for granted as the Security Council moves to "reward" Eritrea's bad behavior. The Charge said the U.S. was working for a resolution that would not complicate the efforts of an eventual envoy to find a solution and that would allow UNMEE to work effectively; the U.S. was working for balance. The Charge's discussion with Tekeda on internal political issues is reported septel. END SUMMARY.
-- GOE: SQUEAKY WHEEL (ERITREA) GETTING THE GREASE
2. (C) On November 15, the Charge (accompanied by the A/PAO) responded to a call from State Minister of Foreign Affairs Tekeda Alemu. The State Minister provided the Charge with a copy of a November 14 letter from Minister of Foreign Affairs Seyoum Mesfin to Security Council President Denisov (text emailed to DAS Yamamoto and USUN.) The letter, a follow-on to an October 31 letter from the FM, decries the Security Council's pending resolution on the border as a reward to Eritrea for its violation of the Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities. The letter argues that "Eritrea's move (to restrict UNMEE's operations) was calculated to get the Council to change the balanced approach it has been following," and that "the draft resolution...leads to no other conclusion." The letter reminds the UNSC that "the TSZ is an area handed over to UNMEE by Ethiopian forces in the interest of peace, and with the confidence that the provisions of the cease-fire agreement would be respected because it would be protected by the Security Council."
3. (C) The State Minister reviewed the contents of the letter, saying that "all indications are that the Security council is gravitating towards rewarding Isaias for his sabre-rattling," thus "raising the ante." Tekeda called this tendency "a source of great concern" for the GOE. He said that the GOE feels it risks "being taken for granted, because we are not hollering," and that it sees the repetition of a cycle that took place in advance of and during the border war, in which Ethiopian concerns were downplayed in favor of Eritrea. He called for U.S. support, saying the resolution would not advance the cause of peace. "Please help us avoid another conflagration," Tekeda asked.
4. (C) The Charge responded that to her knowledge, the most recent version of the draft resolution used language that had been in play since September, and that it had been shown to the Ethiopian embassy in Washington and had passed muster there. She volunteered to provide the State Minister with her most recent working draft, to ensure that the GOE was responding to current language. The State Minister said that if the wording as it now stands had not been problematic, the FM would not have written, but accepted her offer regarding the draft. "We are worried," he added.
Once Burned, Twice Shy
5. (C) Turning to the larger border issue, the Charge said that factors such as troop movements on both sides and Eritrea's refusal of a UN envoy are indeed worrying. She wondered whether, despite the GOE's well known stance on the need for dialogue prior to demarcation, it was not time for a new approach, one that more clearly and unreservedly enunciates Ethiopia's acceptance of the findings of the Border Commission. If Eritrea knew that Ethiopia was prepared to start demarcation along EEBC lines, it might facilitate the opening of the dialogue that PM Meles wanted.
6. (C) The State Minister responded that the Five-Point Plan Ethiopia put forward in late 2004 was "not an Ethiopian creation." He attributed its contents, and especially the caveat that Ethiopia accepted EEBC findings "in principle," to "mutual friends." When pressed, he mentioned the British and unnamed "American Congressmen." He said that Ethiopia was told then that the Five-Point Plan would ease tensions and improve Ethiopia's image, but it did not; instead, it gave the impression that Ethiopia was "hedging" on its acceptance of the Commission's findings. He said that in 1999, the U.S. and the international community did not act decisively enough to hold Eritrea to statements that it would pull out of Badme. He reiterated fears that Ethiopia would once again be taken for granted as the Security Council moves to "reward" Eritrea's bad behavior.
7. (C) The Charge said the U.S. was working for a resolution that would not complicate the efforts of an eventual envoy to find a solution and that would allow UNMEE to work effectively; she added that the language she understood to be under consideration was not intended to favor Eritrea, and that the U.S. was working for balance. The State Minister's response: "But are you sure about your New York mission?" She answered that, while the current language might not be wholly to Ethiopia's liking, it was far better than drafts seen since September. HUDDLESTON