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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06ADDISABABA1600
2006-06-12 15:37:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Addis Ababa
Cable title:  

ETHIOPIA: GOE CONSIDERS JUNE 15 EEBC MEETING

Tags:   PREL  KPKO  ET  ER 
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OO RUEHROV
DE RUEHDS #1600/01 1631537
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 121537Z JUN 06
FM AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1060
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA PRIORITY
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ADDIS ABABA 001600 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

AF FOR A/S FRAZER AND A/DAS REDDICK

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/12/2016
TAGS: PREL KPKO ET ER
SUBJECT: ETHIOPIA: GOE CONSIDERS JUNE 15 EEBC MEETING
ILL-ADVISED, PROCESS OFF-TRACK


Classified By: Charge Vicki Huddleston for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).



1. (C) Summary: Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Tekeda told
Charge June 12 that the GOE did not understand why the June
15 EEBC meeting was being held, and predicted that the likely
outcome would be conflict, if not a total breakdown in the
current EEBC process. He asked that the USG consider
postponing the meeting and hold a bilateral consultation with
the GOE. Tekeda emphasized that key features endorsed by the
Witnesses in February had now fallen by the wayside, most
notably the commitment to Gen. Fulford's role as a neutral
facilitator. The Vice Minister alleged that the EEBC's
commissioners, including Sir Elihu Lauterpacht, had been
intimidated by Eritrea. Charge argued that a slightly
different approach to the facilitator function envisioned by
the Department, endorsed by the EEBC but channeled through
the UN, might in fact give the GOE more of what it needed in
terms of dialogue on normalization and discussions on the
impact of demarcation. She also pointed out that a USG
geographer would likely join the EEBC team to bolster its
ability to "identify anomalies and impracticabilities." The
Charge urged that the GOE provide its overdue security plan
to the EEBC, which might be contingent on the lifting of
restrictions on UNMEE, and take administrative steps
necessary to get demarcation moving again. Tekeda said that
the GOE would not provide a security plan, however, and was
considering skipping the EEBC altogether. At a minimum, the
GOE would lower its level of representation. Post recommends
consultations/contact with PM Meles prior to the EEBC
meetnig. Charge will meet with Meles at 8:00 am Washington
time June 13. End Summary.



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USG HOPES FOR EEBC: SECURITY PLAN AND ENDORSEMENT OF UN TALKS


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--------------------------





2. (C) In a June 12 office call, the Charge and Pol/Econ
Counselor pitched Tekeda on U.S. hopes for the upcoming
Ethiopia-Eritrean Boundary Commission (EEBC) meeting in the
Hague June 15. She said the U.S. wanted to see the GOE
provide its overdue security plan for demarcation process and
take other steps to facilitate the opening. These steps, she
added, would put the focus back on Eritrea's failure so far
to lift restrictions on the UN Mission to Ethiopia and
Eritrea (UNMEE). She indicated that A/DAS Reddick and Bill
Schofield would be present at the meeting.



3. (C) The Charge noted that the EEBC had indicated it would
not hire Gen. Fulford as a consultant after all, but that the
USG expected that USG geographer Ray Milford would be hired

instead. Milford was both well-qualified and inclined to
share experiences from other African countries about ways to
deal with "anomalies and impracticabilities" the emerge from
border delimitation. The Charge also indicated that the USG
would press the EEBC to endorse parallel, UN-led talks to
deal with the impact of demarcation and broader normalization
issues. She noted that PM Meles had told her he would attend
if such talks were held, and that Secretary Rice might also
be involved. We would envision such talks preceding final
demarcation, the Charge added.



--------------------------

---
TEKEDA: ORIGINAL WITNESSES PLAN "OUT THE WINDOW"


--------------------------

---



4. (C) Deputy Minister Tekeda replied that the GOE saw no
rationale for an EEBC meeting in June. A meeting was likely
to lead to confrontation, something the GOE did not want.
The problem was that the plan laid out by the Witnesses in
their February 2006 statement had already been "thrown out
the window" by the EEBC, under pressure from Eritrea. He
recalled that the EEBC had stated in March its intention to
hire Gen. Fulford as a consultant, but had begun backpedaling
in its subsequent meeting. By the time EEBC Chair Sir Elihu
Lauterpacht wrote to UN SYG Kofi Annan on May 21, he had
taken back everything the EEBC had promised to do with
respect to a neutral facilitator. Given these setbacks,
Tekeda said, he would have expected the Witnesses to
reconvene to consider these developments and "help the EEBC."
Instead, the EEBC process was continuing as if nothing had
happened.



5. (C) Tekeda also discussed other actions in which Eritrea
was engaged that affected the context for the EEBC process,

ADDIS ABAB 00001600 002 OF 002


including continuing support to insurgencies in Ethiopia. He
also claimed that the GSE had violated both the ceasefire
agreement and the temporary security zone (TSZ). This left
only one of the three Algiers Accords in effect, he
concluded. He also recalled GSE lawyer Lea Brillmeyer's
arguments at the last EEBC session concerning restrictions
the GSE had placed on UNMEE. By separating what she said
were activities undertaken voluntarily by Eritrea in order to
establish a good relationship with UNMEE from those that were
strictly "demarcation-related," she was bifurcating UNMEE's
mandate. Tekeda said that the GOE had failed to flag this
negative development adequately in the last EEBC meeting.
The Charge replied that the USG would accept nothing less
than full restauration of UNMEE operations.



--------------------------



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NO SECURITY PLAN NOW; CONSULTATIONS WITH USG NEEDED


--------------------------



--------------------------





6. (C) Considering all of the developments mentioned above,
Tekeda said that the feeling in Addis Ababa was that
continued concessions by Ethiopia, including submission of a
security plan, would send the wrong message. Although he
acknowledged the Charge's argument about putting the onus
back on Eritrea to allow UNMEE to do its job, Tekeda said
that "there is no consensus here to do that." He added that
there was not even consensus yet to attend the June 15 EEBC
meeting at all. He suggested, however, that current GOE
thinking was to send the MFA legal advisor to represent
Ethiopia. Nonetheless, Tekeda urged that the meeting be
delayed if at all possible. At a minimum, the USG should
plan bilateral consultations with the GOE prior to any EEBC
meeting to map out the way ahead.



--------------------------



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CHARGE: DON'T BE THE PROBLEM; UN ROLE BRINGS BENEFITS


--------------------------



--------------------------





7. (C) The Charge countered that by not providing the
required security plan -- or worse yet, not attending -- the
GOE would look as uncooperative as Eritrea in the eyes of the
international community. She noted that the GOE had already
missed an opportunity at the third EEBC meeting to deliver a
clear statement on the "final amd binding" nature of the EEBC
decision and provide a security plan. These mistakes had
drawn attention away from Eritrea's continuing restrictions
on UNMEE.



8. (C) Charge and Pol/Econ Counselor also argued that the GOE
stood to gain a great deal from the acceptance of broad talks
on issues related to the border under UN auspices. Such
talks would not be subject to the same constraints as those
that limited the EEBC role. The UN, after all, had a much
broader and well- established mandate to promote peace and
security -- just what the Ethiopians had been looking for.
Tekeda replied that the EEBC remained the fundamental
challenge for all parties. Was the Commission really ready
to cooperate and work for solutions? The parties could
engage in diplomatic gymnastics, but would the EEBC play
ball? He reiterated that the initial Witnesses strategy had
failed and must be revised to reflect new realities.



--------------------------


COMMENT: MAYBE WE DO NEED TO REGROUP


--------------------------





9. (C) While there is enough blame to go around for current
roadblocks, post agrees that enough fundamental changes have
taken place to the process that prior consultations with the
USG would be advisable, and would assure that the border
process stays on track; it might also assist us in preparing
another Witnesses' statement. Charge will meet with PM Meles
on Tuesday, June 13 at 8:00 am Washington time and would
appreciate any additional guidance.
HUDDLESTON