Ref ID: 09TRIPOLI559
Date: 7/13/2009 9:35
Origin: Embassy Tripoli
Header: VZCZCXRO5478PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRNDE RUEHTRO #0559/01 1940935ZNY CCCCC ZZHP 130935Z JUL 09FM AMEMBASSY TRIPOLITO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5016INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVERUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT 0903RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 1075RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 0751RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DCRHMFISS/CJTF HOARHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DCRHMFISS/CDR USAFRICOM STUTTGART GERHMFISS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DCRHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DCRUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DCRUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY 0174RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 0189RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI 5554
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TRIPOLI 000559 SIPDIS STATE FOR AF/FO, AF/E AND AF/RSA E.O. 12958: DECL: 7/12/2019 TAGS: PREL, PGOV, DJ, AU-1, LY SUBJECT: AU SUMMIT: A/S CARSON’S MEETING WITH DJIBOUTIAN FOREIGN MINISTER YOUSSOUF TRIPOLI 00000559 001.2 OF 002 CLASSIFIED BY: Gene A. Cretz, Ambassador, US Embassy Tripoli, Department of State. REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)
1.(C) Summary: Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Johnnie Carson and Djiboutian Foreign Minister Mahamoud Ali Youssouf met July 1 on the margins of the African Union (AU) Summit in Sirte, Libya. Their discussion focused on the conflict in Somalia, the potential spread of extremism throughout the Horn of Africa, and the unhelpful role that Eritrea is playing by allowing funds and weapons to be funneled through its territory to al-Shabaab forces fighting the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) in Somalia. Djibouti is prepared to commit one battalion to AMISOM if necessary. End Summary.
2.(C) A/S Carson opened the meeting by expressing the USG’s gratitude to the Djiboutian government for our good relationship and for providing facilities to CJTF-HOA at Camp Lemonier. Turning to Somalia, Carson outlined U.S. support for the Djibouti peace process, the TFG, and Somali President Sheikh Sharif. Sharif and the TFG represent a “real possibility for stability over the long run,” said Carson. Sharif has no political baggage and no prior affiliation with warlords, and he genuinely wants to bring peace to his country, Carson added. The Assistant Secretary reviewed the level of USG support to the TFG, including materiel support and training for the security forces. The United States has urged AMISOM troop contributing countries, Burundi and Uganda, to hold fast, and it has urged other states to live up to their pledges made in Brussels in May. However, U.S. support would not go as far as placing U.S. forces on Somali soil, Carson said.
DJIBOUTIAN FM: FOREIGN TERORISTS INFILTRATING SOMALIA ——————————————— ——–
3.(C) Djibouti’s Foreign Minister Youssouf, accompanied by Djibouti’s Ambassador to Ethiopia and the AU Ismael Goulal Boudine, underscored his country’s major security concern related to the conflict in Somalia. Djibouti has witnessed an infiltration of international terrorists, he told Carson. Sharif reportedly told Djiboutian authorities that more than 2,000 foreign fighters were now in Somalia. Youssef noted that these fighters have come to the Horn of Africa from Afghanistan and Pakistan in search of a safe haven. “They brought with them their terrorist techniques
— kamikaze raids and car bombs,” he said.
AL SHABAAB “JIHADISM” A THREAT TO THE REGION ——————————————–
4.(C) Youssef noted Djibouti’s fears that the ideology embraced by al-Shabaab will spread across Somalia’s borders into neighboring states, threatening Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Kenya. “Their aim is to expand jihadism and their extremist ideology,” he said.
ERITREA FUELING AL-SHABAAB INSURGENCY ————————————-
5.(C) Eritrea poses a further threat, Youssouf told Carson. Eritrea is fueling the insurgency in Somalia by funneling arms to al-Shabaab. The Eritrean government continues to deny any involvement, but the Djiboutians are persuaded of Eritrea’s negative role. (Note: Eritrea’s Presidential Adviser Yemane Ghebreab and Foreign Minister Osman Mohammed Saleh came to the AU Summit to lobby AU member states and international partners with the goal of blocking an initiative alleging Eritrean complicity in backing al-Shabaab and threatening Eritrea with sanctions. Their lobbying failed as the AU adopted a resolution calling on the UN to impose sanctions on Eritrea. End note.)
6.(C) Youssouf said his government was ready to “help the Somali government stand on its feet.” If the international community fails to support the TFG, “it will be a big mess,” Youssouf said. He was critical of Libyan diplomacy for “protecting” the Eritreans and for failing to understand the danger al-Shabaab poses to the region.
7.(C) Carson noted that Eritrea is supporting al-Shabaab’s insurgency in Somalia as part of a proxy war with Ethiopia. Eritrea, he said, was providing a safe haven for al-Shabaab TRIPOLI 00000559 002.2 OF 002 fighters. Among the foreign fighters coming to Somalia are Americans of Somali origin, Carson told Youssouf. In countering al-Shabaab, the USG has encouraged Kenya to employ measures to prevent al-Shabaab supporters from entering Somalia from Kenya.
FM URGES INCREASE IN AMISOM TROOP LEVELS —————————————–
8.(C) Youssouf told Carson that the TFG and AMISOM could gain the upper hand against al-Shabaab, a force that strikes its target then melts into the local population. He advocated for modifying AMISOM’s rules of engagement to allow troops more offensive capability. He also said that efforts must be made to increase AMISOM troop strength to their mandated level of 8,000. Youssouf said the TFG forces cannot be relied upon if they do not get paid regularly and do not receive adequate weapons and ammunition. President Sharif reportedly told Youssouf a day earlier that he did not want mercenaries fighting in Somalia, but preferred to build up a professional army. To that end, several former Somali officers now living in the diaspora have indicated their willingness to return to Somalia to serve their armed forces again. In addition, Djibouti is prepared to commit a battalion to AMISOM, Youssouf said.