By Herman J. Cohen

Because the chilly warfare pale, Ambassador Hank Cohen, President George Bush's Assistant Secretary of nation for Africa, engaged in competitive diplomatic intervention in Africa's civil wars. during this revealing booklet Cohen tells how he and his Africa Bureau staff operated in seven international locations in hindrance - Angola, Ethiopia, Liberia, Mozambique, Rwanda, Somalia and Sudan. He candidly characterizes key personalities and occasions and gives a treasure trove of classes discovered and easy rules for practitioners of clash answer inside states.

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Probably its main value was that it took place. It was an opportunity for the Ethiopians to demonstrate they still had influence with important international players. That was supposed to be a fillip for flagging popular morale. Both we 36 Intervening in Africa and the Israelis could demonstrate our perseverance on the Falasha problem. We all knew in advance that the result had to be an improved emigration rate. I took advantage of a three-hour break in the meeting the first afternoon to visit the Falashas’ camp.

The talks did not progress beyond a repetition of previous generalizations, but there appeared to be mutual interest in more dialogue. Tesfaye Dinka gave an oral presentation describing a new constitution in which Eritrea would have autonomous powers within a united Ethiopia. John Davison commented that the proposed arrangement would give Eritrea less power than any of the 50 American states. The EPLF still demanded a referendum, with secession as one option. What Tesfaye Dinka read to them, without leaving a written document, did not stimulate enthusiasm, because all power would continue to be lodged in the central government.

Therefore, the only solution compatible with both demands was a return to confederation, without a secession option. The EPLF could accept nothing less. The issue of territorial integrity: a principle at risk A negotiated solution was not necessarily the only possible outcome. We also had to prepare for the contingency of an EPLF military victory. Our Policy Coordinating Committee meeting of the previous August had considered such a possibility real. We might be faced with a declaration of independence by an EPLF in full control of Eritrean territory, though the EPLF denied it was fighting for independence, only for the right of self-determination.

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