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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06ADDISABABA1869
2006-07-07 15:34:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Addis Ababa
Cable title:  

ETHIOPIA: GOE SAYS NO INCURSION IN SOMALIA

Tags:   PREL  ASEC  MOPS  ET  SO 
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TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1474
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ADDIS ABABA 001869 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

AF FOR A/S FRAZER

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/03/2016
TAGS: PREL ASEC MOPS ET SO
SUBJECT: ETHIOPIA: GOE SAYS NO INCURSION IN SOMALIA

REF: ADDIS ABABA 1783

Classified By: A/DCM KEVIN SULLIVAN FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND
(D).


C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ADDIS ABABA 001869

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

AF FOR A/S FRAZER

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/03/2016
TAGS: PREL ASEC MOPS ET SO
SUBJECT: ETHIOPIA: GOE SAYS NO INCURSION IN SOMALIA

REF: ADDIS ABABA 1783

Classified By: A/DCM KEVIN SULLIVAN FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND
(D).



1. (C) SUMMARY: An Ethiopian government spokesman publicly
denied that Ethiopian troops had crossed the Somali border
and reaffirmed Ethiopia's desire to work with regional
partners on a response to the situation in Somalia.
Meanwhile, a senior Ethiopian military official has assured
post that the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) have
staged no large-scale or conventional military incursions
into Somalia. Clandestine reporting indicates that the GOE
has for some time provided training to TFG militia and may
also be conducting small reconnaissance missions in Somalia
in preparation for possible future operations. Both of these
activities involve small numbers of Ethiopia troops on Somali
soil and could generate sporadic reports of ENDF presence on
the ground across the border. END SUMMARY.

PUBLIC SUPPORT FOR REGIONAL, NOT UNILATERAL, ACTION
-------------- --------------


2. (U) Over the July 1 weekend, GOE spokesman Zemedhun Tekle
denied reports that Ethiopian troops had crossed the border
into Somalia. "The allegation is the usual fabrication of
the Islamists group aimed at hoodwinking the public," he
added. Zemedhun reiterated Ethiopia's desire to work with
regional governments to address the situation in Somalia and
reaffirmed that the GOE saw no reason to take unilateral
action unless "the Islamists" crossed the Ethiopian border.


3. (U) The GOE spokesman's statements echoed remarks Prime
Minister Meles had made to the media several days earlier on
Somalia. Meles told reporters that "Ethiopia supports the
position taken on (Somalia) by Inter-Governmental Authority
on Development (IGAD), the African Union (AU) and the
international community." Meles said that position consisted
of 1) support for the Transitional Federal Institutions
(TFIs); 2) opposition to the extension of military operations
by the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC); and 3) the need for

dialogue within the framework of acceptance of the TFIs. The
PM emphasized that the GOE did not see the UIC as a
monolithic organization and understood that many Somalis had
supported the UIC as a way to bring order to chaotic
Mogadishu. He added, however, that "the threat posed to
Ethiopia by the dominance of the UIC by Al-Itihad (AIAI) is
obvious." Meles recalled that AIAI had been involved in
terrorist outrages in the Ethiopian capital. He ackowledged
that Ethiopia had "beefed up defenses all along the border to
prevent any threat to our security that might emanate from
the resurgent Jihadists in Mogadishu to the extent that they
deploy their forces in such a way as to be an immediate
danger to our security...at the moment, they are not a clear
danger to us. They may become so if they cross the line.
They know where that line is and so do we. So far they have
not crossed it."

PRIVATE LINES IN THE SAND STILL NOT CROSSED
--------------


4. (C) Meles' references to "crossing the line" likely refer
not to Somalia's border with Ethiopia, but rather to
thresholds for action Meles identified in reftel, such as
attacking the TFI's in Baidoa or failure to withdraw from
strategic towns near the border like Belet Uen.


5. (C) On July 3, a senior ENDF officer told DATT that
Ethiopia had not sent troops into Somalia over the previous
weekend. If the ENDF had sent regular troops across the
border, the official said, they would already be engaged in
conventional military clashes. Furthermore, the logistics
support required for a large-scale military movement would be
impossible to hide from the international community. The
ENDF officer said UIC charges that Ethiopia had already moved
militarily were part of an extensive public relations
campaign against Ethiopia. The UIC was unlikely to fight
Ethiopia in a conventional battle; therefore, it would try to
weaken Ethiopia's hand through propoganda and manipulation of
historical conflicts between the two countries, as well as
the idea of a "Greater Somalia" including Ethiopia's Somali
region.

ADDIS ABAB 00001869 002 OF 002




6. (C) The ENDF officer indicated to DATT that the GOE
maintained indirect contacts with UIC leaders and continued
to send the message that the UIC should maintain its current
military positions and not cross the Ethiopian border.

COMMENT: NO MAJOR OFFENSIVE, BUT SOME ENDF TROOPS LIKELY IN
SOMALIA
-------------- --------------
--------------


7. (C) While the PM and others deny that Ethiopian troops
have entered Somalia, clandestine reporting indicates that
the GOE has for some time provided training to TFG militia.
It would also be consistent with standard Ethiopian military
doctrine to conduct small reconnaissance missions in Somalia
in preparation for possible future operations. Both of these
activities would involve small numbers of Ethiopia troops on
Somali soil and could generate sporadic reports of ENDF
presence on the ground across the border.
HUDDLESTON