It is rather interesting that Tekeda Alemu would today feign concern and call on Eritrea to show a “pacific disposition” towards Djibouti, Somalia and Ethiopia [i]. As this author recalls, it was Tekeda Alemu that asked the US to break the otherwise amicable and neighborly Djibouti-Eritrea relations.
How can Eritrea have a “pacific disposition” to Ethiopia when for over a decade Ethiopia has been occupying its sovereign territories in violation of the Eritrea Ethiopia Boundary Commission’s (EEBC) final and binding delimitation and demarcation decisions, international law, the United Nations and African Union Charters?
As for Somalia, no one tried harder to “isolate” Eritrea from playing any meaningful role in Somalia than did the regime in Ethiopia and its handlers. Now that they have managed to create an intractable desperate situation in a dismembered and weak Somalia, don’t expect Eritrea to burn in that self created quagmire. Allow me to remind the good Ambassador of a few facts about Djibouti-Eritrea relations.
In 2006, Djibouti-Eritrea relations were improving steadily even as the situation in Somalia was taking a turn for the worse. A 14 September 2006 cable [ii] from the Embassy of France reports on a September 7-8 meetings with U.S. Ambassador to Djibouti W. Stuart Symington and French officials, Helene Le Gal and desk officer Francois Gautier; President Chirac’s Africa Advisor Michel de Bonnecorse and his deputy Jacques Champagne de Labriolle. According to the cable:
“…Djibouti had managed to maintain a balanced relationship with Ethiopia and Eritrea… The French noted that the possibility of social unrest existed in Djibouti, in part because income from the bases was not necessarily being distributed broadly…The widespread use of khat, a stimulant imported mainly from Ethiopia, was a significant factor in Djiboutian society. It had generally negative effects on the political process and economy. Social unrest was always possible when supplies of khat dwindled…Increasing numbers of Somalis, Eritreans, and Ethiopians were in Djibouti, attracted by Djibouti’s port and the illusion that it would always provide more jobs, which was not the case. Ethnic tensions were growing in Djibouti…”
In mid October 2006, when the Sudanese Government of National Unity and the East Sudan Front signed the historic peace agreement in Asmara, Eritrea’s capital, Djibouti’s President Ismail Guelleh was present and Djibouti-Eritrea relations were good. The author traveled to the Djibouti-Eritrea border in 2007 and there were no problems between the two brotherly nations and the relationship was developing on several fronts.
Djibouti was opposed to military intervention in Somalia and did not support IGASOM, the proposed IGAD peacekeeping mission. Ethiopia decided to use the US to pressure Djibouti to come on board. Ethiopia also wanted Djibouti to sever its brotherly relations with Eritrea and as we shall see later, it also provided the “faulty intelligence” to inflame the President of Djibouti in mid 2009 and coerce him into asking for sanctions against Eritrea. US and Ethiopia encouraged Djibouti to escalate the already resolved border issue (according to the French Foreign Ministry). With the help of Susan E. Rice and others in the US Administration pushed for “stand alone for sanctions against Eritrea”. Suffice it to mention a few key cables that illustrate Ethiopia and US deliberate escalation of a non-existent Djibouti-Eritrea issue and complicating its peaceful resolution.
1./ September 2006 cable “ETHIOPIA: DEPUTY MINISTER TEKEDA TALKS SOMALIA, REGIONAL ISSUES WITH DAS YAMAMOTO”, details the conversation between the then Deputy Minister Tekeda Alemu and US Ambassador Donald Yamamoto. The cable says:
“…The Government of Djibouti’s opposition to IGAD actions in Somalia are the result of its fear of Eritrean President Isaias, Tekeda said, as well as President Guelleh’s personal business interests with Eritrea. The Deputy Foreign Minister speculated that the Djiboutian leadership was worried that Eritrea would support Afari separatist movements, as Isaias had done successfully in Sudan, if Djibouti did not follow Eritrea’s lead in Somalia. Tekeda also told Yamamoto that Aweys and other CIC leaders had stopped in Djibouti to meet with President Guelleh on their way back from Libya the week before. Tekeda maintained that the GOD was “on the wrong path,” and added that Djibouti was not strong enough to take Ethiopia’s continued friendship and forbearance for granted…”
But that was not all. Here is the rest of it:
“…Tekeda urged that the USG speak frankly with Djibouti about its role in the region. He said that President Guelleh would pay attention to U.S. concerns given the importance to him of the U.S. military base in Djibouti. “He must be told to choose” whose side he wanted to take…”
I don’t know what Donald Yamamoto’s response was to Tekeda Alemu’s request to break up Djibouti-Eritrea relations.
Ethiopia and its myopic handlers sought to isolate Eritrea and prevent Eritrea from having any role in Somalia. They accused Eritrea of supporting Al Shabbab and labeled Eritrea a “spoiler”. The election of President Barack Obama brought Meles Zenawi’s “skirted friends” to the new US Administration. One of them was Susan E. Rice, the US Ambassador to the United Nations and the record will show her role in escalating the Djibouti-Eritrea conflict in her aggressive quest to get sanctions against the State of Eritrea. Suffice it to present a brief chronology of events:
According to the American Embassy cables, the Djibouti-Eritrea issue was presented to the Americans in early April 2008. According to a 17 April 2008 cable [iii] reporting on James Knight’s visit to the region, Djibouti’s Foreign Minister Mahmoud Ali Youssouf delivered the protest. According to the cable:
“…GODJ had, on April 15, protested Eritrean military presence at Doumeira, on the Djibouti-Eritrea border. He said that the Eritrean military had set up several tents “well into” Djiboutian territory…”
The 17 April 2008 cable also stated the following
“…Djiboutian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Ali Youssouf contacted Charge on the afternoon of April 17 to protest what he characterized as an escalation by Eritrea, and to urge that the USG and France use its good offices to raise concern with the Eritrean government (GSE). FM Youssouf said he was informing the USG and France of the following…According to FM Youssouf, some 20-25 Eritrean troops were manning the post, which he asserted was on Djiboutian territory… Furthermore, the Eritrean ambassador had reportedly stated that the GSE was “upset with U.S. military maneuvers with Djibouti”, and that the USG was seeking to destabilize Eritrea… FM Youssouf first raised concern about the Eritrean military post on Djiboutian territory in an April 16 meeting with AF/E Director James Knight…”
The cable also noted:
“…French Ambassador to Djibouti Dominique Decherf said that while he had to take note of the assertions by Djibouti’s Foreign Minister, French military observers in the field had not/not seen any concentration of Eritrean troops along the border with Djibouti. He said French fixed-wing aircraft dispatched to the area on April 17 “did not see anything conclusive,” and did not/not see massive troop concentrations along the border…”
For some reason, the Djibouti Foreign Minister was hell bent on escalating the issue and internationalizing it. Djibouti decided to complain to the UN Security Council and with the help of the US Mission addressed the Security Council. Eritrea chose to handle the issue quietly and bilaterally, but Djibouti was being advised to make a lot of noise and it did. During one of its many visits to Turtle Bay, Inner-city Press in its report [iv] revealed inconsistencies in Djibouti’s account of events. Here is an excerpt from that report:
“…Inner City Press asked Minister Youssouf about Eritrea’s claim that French helicopters landed on or near its territory, and that an Eritrean speedboat was recently sunk, allegedly by non-Djiboutian forces. To his credit, Youssouf did not dodge these questions… He acknowledged that a French helicopter had carried him, his President and Prime Minister Dileita Mohamed Dileita to the disputed area, so they could see for themselves. He agreed that an Eritrean speedboat was recently sunk, but said that Djibouti itself has been responsible. He said that a Velo-bound, hundred-some page pamphlet prepared for submission to the Security Council on Tuesday afternoon contained proof and even photos of all this…”
Hundred-page pamphlet? Let us see what Inner-city reported next:
“…Inner City Press obtained a copy of the pamphlet, which strangely is dated February 2008, before the conflict at issue…”
So who prepared the pamphlet and why was it dated before the conflict? Judging from the events that have occurred since, it is not hard to decipher who the culprits are. Djibouti’s Foreign Minister may have been a willing victim (desperate to please the US), but I doubt that it was Djibouti’s creation.
In addition, the Djibouti delegation always made its presentations in French, but on the issue of Eritrea it read from a prepared English statement. Why was that and who prepared the Statement used by the Djiboutians? Anyway let us move on…
US bias against Eritrea was evident from day one. The cable [v] issued on 20 April 2008 shows that Eric Wong, the US Charge D’Affaires in Djibouti had accepted the Djibouti Foreign Minister’s account and was already blaming Eritrea without ever providing any evidence for the allegations being made. Here is a comment that was added at the end of the cable and it clearly shows that the US was using the Djibouti issue to punish Eritrea for what it perceived as being Eritrea’s “intransigence” on the UNMEE issue:
“…FM Youssouf noted that no public statements from the USG were needed yet, as Djibouti sought to press Eritrea through “quiet diplomacy.” Should these talks fail, however, the international community will have to weigh what actions, if any, would be effective in reversing the Eritrean incursion. The recent withdrawal of UN peacekeeping forces from the Temporary Security Zone, following more than two years of increasing restrictions on the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE), highlight the GSE’s intransigence in the face of international pressure…”
US officials, including those at the UN appear to be applying double standards when it comes to Eritrea. The UN Security Council had remained silent for the last 10 years as Ethiopia occupied sovereign Eritrean territories, including Badme, with US acquiescence and support. Exaggerating the Djibouti-Eritrea issue and trying to divert attentions away from Ethiopia’s intransigence, the UN US mission stated the following:
“…there can be no link between the crisis on the border between Djibouti and Eritrea and the Ethiopia-Eritrea border impasse. Eritrea cannot be allowed to use its invasion of its sovereign and peaceful neighbor to affect settlement of another dispute…”
It was agreed that Eritrea would not be allowed to raise the Eritrea-Ethiopia border issue, yet the same officials had no qualms about raising the issue of UNMEE in order to make their case against Eritrea and what they consider to be Eritrea’s affront on the authority of the Security Council. If the Eritrea Ethiopia border issue is unrelated to the Djibouti-Eritrea issue, then why mention UNMEE in relation to the Djibouti-Eritrea issue?
With the gullible western media in tow, the orchestrated vilification of Eritrea began with this 20 April 2008 report from AFP [vi] which said:
“…Eritrean soldiers made an incursion into Djibouti territory two or three days ago in the Ras Doumeira area,” an official who did not want to be identified said in a telephone interview…A military source said French forces based in Djibouti had carried out a reconnaissance on Thursday at the government’s request but had not been able to confirm an incursion…”
Reuters, in its 22 April 2008 news with a glaring headline, “UN council angered at Eritrea over border force” reported a threat made by Alejandro Wolff, Deputy Permanent U.S. Representative to the United Nations:
“…U.S. envoy Alejandro Wolff said there was “a mood in the council of great, great dissatisfaction at the manner in which Eritrea has handled this,” and accused the Eritreans of “shooting themselves in the foot…In the long term Eritrea will pay a big price for this misjudgment,” he told reporters, without elaborating…”
In May 2008, as far as the French were concerned, the situation between Djibouti and Eritrea was resolved and did not need to be “internationalized”. A 2 May 2008 cable [vii], “Djibouti/Eritrea: Mfa Says Not to Internationalize Border Incursion”, reported the following:
“…Helene Le Gal said on May 2 that the French were not in favor of Djibouti’s bringing Eritrea’s recent border incursion before the African Union, Arab League, or UN Security Council, despite the fact that the Arab League is going to discuss the matter on May 4. She said that doing so would only create tensions over an issue that had already been resolved, de facto, by Eritrea’s withdrawal from Djiboutian territory. Le Gal confirmed that France had been supplying air reconnaissance imagery to Djibouti, and that this imagery originally showed a slight but definite incursion by Eritrean forces into Djibouti. The Eritreans used earth-moving equipment to dig a trench in Djiboutian territory. However, subsequent imagery, “which is very precise,” showed that the Eritreans had withdrawn….”
The cable goes on:
“…Le Gal added that Eritrean military units remained near the border, confronted by some 1,000 Djiboutian troops (two-thirds of all of Djibouti’s military, Le Gal said). In these circumstances, which could well indicate that the Eritreans had mistakenly advanced into Djiboutian territory, Djibouti would have little to gain by raising this incursion at an international level.
But Djibouti insisted on blowing the issue out of proportion and insisted on the US helping it “internationalize” the issue and proceeded to condemn Eritrea in the media and through the UN Security Council.
On 12 May 2008, France’s position on the issue remained the same. A cable[viii] from the US Embassy in Paris reported the following:
“…Le Gal said the Djiboutians had been phoning her “three times a day” and that her message to them was to avoid raising tensions in the region over an incident that had resolved itself peacefully. She repeated that, while Ethiopia’s border dispute with Eritrea was long-standing, there appeared to be no historical basis for a border dispute between Eritrea and Djibouti, which was another reason that both sides should avoid turning this episode into a real problem…”
On 27 May 2008, USLO-Djibouti Chief accompanied two staff directors from the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) on a site visit of the disputed Djibouti-Eritrea border at Ras Doumeira on May 27. According to the cable, “DJIBOUTI-ERITREA: U.S. OFFICERS VISIT RAS DOUMEIRA” [ix], the USLO Chief was invited to attend by MAJ Youssef Abdullah, the Djiboutian liaison officer to CJTF-HOA. The party traveled via Djibouti Air Force fixed-wing aircraft to Moulhoule (the site of the Djibouti Army command post), received a briefing, and then proceeded by ground to the border site, approximately 15K to the north. The cable also stated that all “U.S. military personnel were in civilian clothes”
“…The military situation at Ras Doumeira appears largely static, with neither side willing to back off the ridgeline. As reported earlier (ref A), the Eritrean military presence has also extended to DoumeiraIsland, claimed by Djibouti as wholly Djiboutian territory. The most likely scenario for an escalation to violence may be tensions related to the issue of Eritrean deserters and defectors fleeing to Djibouti. Another potential flashpoint is the continued construction by Eritrean troops of fortifications on Ras Doumeira, using heavy machinery (such as bulldozers). Neither side is well-supplied, but both seem committed to maintaining their positions. Post strongly urges public statements in international fora in support of Djibouti, and in support of seeking a peaceful resolution to reverse Eritrea’s militarization of the Bab-al-Mandeb strait…”
The US State Department upon recommendation from its Embassy in Djibouti obliged and on 11 June 2008, the US State Department issued a statement [x] on the Djibouti-Eritrea border condemning Eritrea. The Statement said:
“…The United States condemns Eritrea’s military aggression against Djibouti in the vicinity of the border between the two countries at Ras Doumeira. These hostilities represent an additional threat to peace and security in the already volatile Horn of Africa. We understand that at least nine Djiboutians have been killed and over 60 injured as a result of the Eritrean attacks…We call on both sides to cease all military hostilities immediately and to reduce tensions by withdrawing troops from the border area. The United States calls on Eritrea and Djibouti to move forward at once to resolve border issues peacefully, in accordance with international law, and for Eritrea to accept offers of third party mediation in this regard…”
AFP reporting from Djibouti on 12 June 2008 [xi] conveyed the sentiments of US officials at the UN who had already decided that Eritrea was at fault:
“…The UN Security Council on Thursday expressed its concern over recent clashes on the border between Eritrea and Djibouti, even as Washington accused Asmara of inflaming tensions…Council members “express their deep concern with the situation and reported violence between Eritrea and Djibouti forces and call on both parties to exercise maximum restrain,” said the council president for June, US deputy permanent representative to the United Nations Alejandro Wolff…Wolff – speaking as the US representative, and not as the Security Council head – then blamed Eritrea for causing trouble…”
A November 2008 cable, “Djibouti: Senator Feingold Discusses Region, Security, And Good Governance with Godj” [xii], sheds some light into the psyche of the Djiboutian leaders and their American interlocutors. On December 18-21 visit to the region and Djibouti; Senator Feingold discussed Djibouti, Somalia, and regional concerns with Djiboutian officials. President Guelleh, Foreign Minister Youssouf shared their insights with the visiting US Senator. On the Djibouti-Eritrea issue, according to the cable:
“…Guelleh told the Senator that there had previously been “good relations” between Djibouti and Eritrea, and said that he attributed the June flare-up at the border to three factors: 1) Eritrea’s misguided perception that the U.S. military presence in Djibouti threatened Eritrea; 2) Eritrean concerns that Djibouti’s helpful involvement in orchestrating Djibouti Process talks between Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia (ARS) was harmful to Eritrean interests; and 3) Economic rivalry linked to the announcement of an ambitious project to build a bridge between Djibouti and Yemen, to include construction of a new economic hub city at the bridge’s terminus in Djibouti in the vicinity of Moulhoule, near the Djibouti-Eritrea border…”
It is really sad to read such childish and myopic statements from these so-called leaders. Parroting Ethiopia’s spills only shows how shamefully emasculated they have become.
There is more. This time it is from the Djiboutian Foreign Minister and this is what the cable reported:
“…Youssouf agreed that Eritrea might have been motivated by jealousy over the Port of Djibouti’s economic success as Ethiopia’s main lifeline to the sea, a false fear that the U.S. was using Djibouti as a “Trojan horse” to conspire with Ethiopia against Eritrea, and a desire to thwart the TFG-ARS Djibouti Process…”
A 15 January 2009 cable [xiii] shows the close coordination between the US and Djibouti and the agenda vis-a-vis Eritrea.
“…Foreign Minister Mahmoud Youssouf called Ambassador January 15 to express thanks for UNSCR 1862 regarding the Djibouti/Eritrea border dispute. Youssouf said the GODJ was pleased with the outcome. Ambassador responded that we, too, thought it was a strong resolution — one that had resulted from a collaborative effort, including close consultation with Djiboutian PermRep Roble Olhaye. Separately, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs circulated the text of UNSCR 1862 via diplomatic note to all foreign missions in Djibouti, highlighting that “the Security Council placed responsibility for the aggression on Eritrea and demanded that it withdraw its troops from Ras Doumeira and DoumeiraIsland within five weeks.” Admitting it was unlikely that the GSE would respond positively to the resolution, the Foreign Minister commented that the GODJ must now begin to develop a strategy for “the next stage,” after the five-week deadline has elapsed. This is a point that Embassy Djibouti has made repeatedly over the past two monts to senior GODJ contacts, including Youssouf, National Security Advisor Hassan Said Khaireh, and Presidency Secretary General Ismail Tani. Ambassador offered to work closely with Youssouf as the GODJ develops its strategy…”
In March 2009, the US Ambassador to Djibouti visited the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). The US Embassy in Djibouti posted the following on its website:
“…The Ambassador of the United States of America to Djibouti, H.E. Mr. James C. Swan has made a courtesy visit to the office of the Executive Secretary of IGAD, Eng. Mahboub Maalim…”
In early April 2009, although the Djibouti-Eritrea situation had remained “static”, in violation of Eritrea’s rights to resolve its dispute with Djibouti in a manner of its choice, the US insisted on pushing for Security Council action against Eritrea. According to the cable:
“…In a brief Security Council session on April 7, Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs Lynn Pascoe described developments in the ongoing border dispute between Eritrea and Djibouti. Council members voiced unanimous support for the Secretary-General’s good offices efforts but only Costa Rica seconded the U.S. in pressing the Council to consider future action should Eritrea continue to fail to comply with UNSC resolution 1863… Amb. DiCarlo said that Eritrea’s contempt for the Council’s authority must not be allowed to set the agenda, and stressed that the Council would need to consider its options for future action should Eritrea continue to fail to comply with its obligations…”
A 4 May 2009 cable[xiv] shows that the US was behind the push to adopt UN Security Council Resolution 1862 in 2008. According to the cable authored by James Swan, the US Ambassador to Djibouti:
“…the U.S. had worked closely with the GODJ and PermRep Robleh Olhaye on the UNSC Presidential Statement of June 12, 2008 and on UNSCR 1862, both of which were highly favorable to the GODJ… On Eritrea, we recommend consultations through State/AF and USUN with Djiboutian PermRep Roble Olhaye — double-tracked by Embassy Djibouti with Foreign Minister Youssouf — to develop a coordinated diplomatic strategy to mobilize UNSC members to apply greater pressure to Eritrea to implement UNSCR 1862. Measures could include targeted sanctions aimed at travel by GSE leadership and at financial transactions involving parastatal enterprises and firms affiliated with the GSE ruling party…”
James Swan’s pro-Ethiopia stance is well established. Frequent visits by Ethiopia’s lobbyists to his office at the Bureau of African Affairs are also well recorded. So it comes as no surprise that he would be pushing to strangulate Eritrea’s economy without any just cause.
An excerpt from the 29 May 2009 Wikileak cable, “Djiboutian Fm Reports IGAD Seeks More Aggressive Mandate for Amisom”, shows Ethiopia as being behind Djibouti’s anxiety and need for further action at the UN. Here is an excerpt from that cable:
“…According to Youssouf, on May 25, Ethiopian Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin had raised with Kenyan Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula the need for a concerted approach by IGAD members to the AU and to the UN Security Council, in support of such measures, as well as the need to apply greater pressure on Eritrea… Eritrea also continued to seek to destabilize Djibouti, Youssouf said. He reported that Ethiopian FM Seyoum had informed him on May 24 of Ethiopian intelligence that more than 200 rebel fighters (presumably ethnic Afars), who had been trained in Eritrea, had infiltrated Djibouti via Ras Doumeira-which has been occupied continuously by Eritrean troops since at least March 2008. Youssouf said Djibouti responded to the report by putting Djiboutian troops on alert, and activating additional forces along the border with Eritrea…”
How can Ethiopia provide information on these “rebels” when Ethiopia does not even have borders with Eritrea at Ras Doumeira? So what happened to those troops? Or did they vanish like the “2000 Eritrean forces fighting alongside the UIC” did in 2006?
Of course the minority regime’s modus operandi is always the same…repeat the accusations as many times to as many people as possible (preferably Americans and Europeans) and Meles Zenawi did not disappoint as this cable illustrates, he repeated the same spill to Johnnie Carson, the US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs:
“…Meles cautioned A/S Carson about Eritrea’s efforts to recruit and train Afari rebels and infiltrate them into Djibouti to undermine Djiboutian authority and create instability through terrorism and military action. If Eritrea succeeds in destabilizing Djibouti, it would destabilize the region and add to Ethiopia’s insecurity along the border. With a sizable Afari population in Ethiopia, Eritrea’s activities would also directly contribute to creating potential instability within Ethiopia…”
Susan E. Rice’s visit to Ethiopia on 19 May 2009 and her six-hour long tete-a-tete with Meles Zenawi, her close friend and confidante that the aggressive push to sanction Eritrea began in earnest. With Ethiopia chairing both bodies IGAD on 21 May 2009 and AU on 22 May 2009 adopted resolutions calling from sanctions against Eritrea. The US-Ethiopian initiative would be cloaked with an “African Face”.
The 13 June 2009 cable[xv] shows the collaboration between Tekeda Alemu and Susan Rice and their intentions to hoodwink Africans and the Security Council by presenting their initiative as an “African Initiative”:
“…A delegation from the Inter Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) met with Amb. Rice on June 10 to press for UNSC implementation of sanctions against Eritrea as called for by recent communiques of IGAD and the African Union (AU). The delegation, led by Ethiopian State Minister Tekeda Alemu and Somali Foreign Minister Mohammed Omaar, agreed that action needed to be taken against Eritrea. Omaar told Amb. Rice that IGAD was only asking for a relatively minor sanctions regime, a travel ban, and asset freeze to give a political signal from the Council as a warning to Eritrea, while Tekeda said that the Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) could imminently collapse if the Council did not act more forcefully. Rice told the group that the U.S. was still evaluating the IGAD proposal, and advised them to present a united African front to the Council…”
Today, Tekeda Alemu wants to defend Susan Rice and extricate her from Horn issues, but he didn’t think about that while he and other TPLF cadres were using her in their plot against the State of Eritrea. Even though Rice claimed that it was an “African Initiative”, it is the Ethiopian cadres that are calling the shots and advising her on actions against Eritrea. Let us take a look at what else the cable aid:
“…Tekeda made a case for more forceful sanctions, claiming that the TFG faced imminent collapse, and implying that only Ethiopian assistance had helped it survive thus far. (NOTE: While Omaar was titular head of the IGAD delegation, Tekeda paid him little deference. End note.) In Ethiopia’s view, Tekeda said, “we don’t have much time” to enact sanctions against Eritrea, adding “we want to see results within a week.” (C) Amb. Rice advised the group to reach agreement on a specific package of measures and counseled that the initiative would be more viable in the Council, if packaged as an African consensus proposal rather than one driven by Eritrea’s estranged neighbors Ethiopia and Djibouti…Rice also urged the group to draw a link to the situation in Djibouti when drawing up its proposal to sanction Eritrea…”
In September 2009, Ambassador Susan Rice, now personally and deeply involved in the push for sanctions against Eritrea accused Eritrea of “invading neighbors with impunity” [xvi] . The cable, “UGANDA TO CONSIDER ERITREA SANCTIONS RESOLUTION WHICH COVERS DJIBOUTI; REMAINS COMMITTED TO AMISOM”, details a conversation Susan Rice had on 20 September 2009 Yoweri Museveni, the President of Uganda:
“…Rice emphasized that the U.S. strongly supports a resolution addresses the issue of Eritrea invading Djibouti. It is a matter of principle that the U.S. cannot ignore, which puts UNSC credibility at stake, and would make Eritrea feel it can continue to invade neighbors with impunity, she said. Museveni expressed concern that references to both Somalia and Djibouti in the draft UN Security Council (UNSC) sanctions resolution might jeopardize its adoption chances. Rice said that she believes there is only one chance to secure a resolution, so Djibouti must be included, and noted that the international community has never effectively confronted Eritrea for invading neighboring countries on five occasions (Yemen, Sudan, Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Somalia). She noted that in January, the UNSC gave Eritrea a deadline of six weeks to leave Djibouti or face sanctions…”
Rice was not interested in providing evidence to support her allegations against Eritrea and her remarks about the members of the UN Security Council shows her that she was willing to deceive the Council to advance her agenda:
“…Rice reminded Museveni that past experience suggested that the UNSC would not block a resolution led by African members and supported by the African Union. She shared the U.S. read that, if Burkina Faso and Uganda co-sponsor this resolution, the British will support, the French will “keep their heads down” and will not block. FM Kutesa noted that Uganda had no substantive concerns over including Djibouti in the resolution. His concern, he said, was that because the AU had never passed an actual resolution that included Djibouti, the Russian and Chinese delegations would have to consult with their capitals before agreeing to it. Rice advised Kutesa not to be overly cautious, and reasserted that a resolution perceived to be African-led would not fail. She noted that, if it became clear during consultations that Russia and China had insurmountable concerns about including Djibouti, they could be dealt with before the issue came to vote…”
James Swan, the US Ambassador in Djibouti, was only happy to report of the “effusive” gratitude the Djiboutian leaders showed for US Government help in getting sanctions against the State of Eritrea. The US Ambassador reported the following in the cable [xvii]:
“…The GODJ is pleased with UNSCR 1907 and takes pride in its diplomatic success in securing sanctions against Eritrea…”
This author asks once again… How does servitude translate into diplomatic success? How does whining and crying foul in order to appease Meles Zenawi and his thugs become diplomatic success? Obviously, Swan holds Africans to a lower standard as he would not have called it “diplomacy” if any European had done what these lawless regimes did to one of their own. He would have rightly called it treachery, as that is what it was, from the beginning to the end.
So Tekeda Alemu can stop the hypocrisy. The Djibouti-Eritrea issue was a fabrication of Ethiopia and its handlers. If Djibouti really wants to resolve its issues with Eritrea today, it can. Both Eritrea and Djibouti agreed to Qatari mediation, so why not let them work it out without further interference? After all, the two nations were doing well until he personally asked the US officials in Ethiopia to help break up the friendship…
The rule of law must prevail over the law of the jungle!
- [i] https://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/13/opinion/sanctions-on-eritrea.html accessed 12/28/2012
- [ii] https://wikileaks.org/cable/2006/09/06PARIS6177.html accessed 02/01/2011
- [iii] https://wikileaks.org/cable/2008/04/08DJIBOUTI377.html accessed 02/01/2012
- [iv] https://www.innercitypress.com/unsc2djibouti062408.html accessed 12 May 2012
- [v] https://wikileaks.org/cable/2008/04/08DJIBOUTI380.html accessed 02/01/2012
- [vi] https://www.timeslive.co.za/New/article.aspx?id=753588 accessed 06 June 2010
- [vii] https://wikileaks.org/cable/2008/05/08PARIS861.html accessed 02/01/201
- [viii] https://wikileaks.org/cable/2008/05/08PARIS908.html accessed 02/01/2012
- [ix] https://wikileaks.org/cable/2008/05/08DJIBOUTI482.html accessed 02/01/2011
- [x] https://2001-2009.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2008/jun/105834.htm accessed 06/10/2008
- [xi] https://www.kilil5.com/news/17152_un-au-urge-talks-to-end-djibouti&print accessed 09/09/2010
- [xii] https://wikileaks.org/cable/2008/12/08DJIBOUTI1032.html accessed 02/01/2012
- [xiii] https://wikileaks.org/cable/2009/01/09DJIBOUTI39.html accessed 02/01/2012
- [xiv] https://wikileaks.org/cable/2009/05/09DJIBOUTI435.html accessed 02/01/2012
- [xv] https://wikileaks.org/cable/2009/06/09USUNNEWYORK590.html accessed 12/12/2012
- [xvi] https://wikileaks.org/cable/2009/09/09USUNNEWYORK861.html accessed 02/01/2012
- [xvii] https://wikileaks.org/cable/2010/01/10DJIBOUTI7.html accessed 21 May2012