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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
01DJIBOUTI401 2001-03-07 00:53:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Djibouti
Cable title:  

DJIBOUTI: NEW PRIME MINISTER NAMED

Tags:   PGOV PREL DJ 
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R 070053Z MAR 01
FM AMEMBASSY DJIBOUTI
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 1476
INFO IGAD COLLECTIVE
AMEMBASSY SANAA 
USCINCCENT MACDILL AFB FL//CCJ4/7/CCJ5//
					UNCLAS DJIBOUTI 000401 

DEPT FOR AF/E
CENTCOM ALSO FOR POLAD

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL DJ
SUBJECT: DJIBOUTI: NEW PRIME MINISTER NAMED

REF: DJIBOUTI 00265



1. PRESIDENT ISMAIL OMAR GUELLEH ANNOUNCED ON MARCH 4
THE APPOINTMENT OF DILEITA MOHAMED DILEITA AS PRIME
MINISTER. DILEITA IS AN AFAR, AND IS PRESENTLY
DJIBOUTIAN AMBASSADOR TO ETHIOPIA. THE PREVIOUS PRIME
MINISTER, BARKAT GOURAD HAMADOU, RESIGNED FEBRUARY 6
BECAUSE OF POOR HEALTH, REF A. SINCE INDEPENDENCE IN
1977 THE PRESIDENT HAS TRADITIONALLY BEEN AN ISSA AND
THE PRIME MINISTER AN AFAR. THERE IS SPECULATION,
INCLUDING BY THE GOVERNMENT NEWS AGENCY, THAT
DILEITA'S APPOINTMENT IS THE BEGINNING OF A CABINET
RESHUFFLE. THE POSITION OF PRIME MINISTER IS LARGELY
CEREMONIAL, WIELDING LITTLE POWER.



2. THE APPOINTMENT IS AN INTERESTING COMPROMISE,
BECAUSE DILEITA IS NOT A PARTY MEMBER OF EITHER THE
RULING RPP, OR THE OPPOSITION FRUD. HE IS KNOWN TO BE
CLOSE TO THE FORMER PRIME MINISTER. MOST PEOPLE HAD
PREDICTED THAT ONE OF THE PROMINENT AFARS IN THE RPP
WHO ARE MEMBERS OF THE CABINET WOULD GET THE NOD, SUCH
AS ALI GUELLEH ABOUBAKER, PRESIDENTIAL CHIEF OF STAFF;
MOHAMED DINI FARAH, MINISTER OF HEALTH; OR ALI MOHAMED
DAOUD, MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE.



3. DILEITA MOHAMED DILEITA WAS BORN MARCH 12, 1958 IN
TADJOURAH, DJIBOUTI TO AN INFLUENTIAL FAMILY. HE WENT
TO HIGH SCHOOL IN CAIRO, EGYPT AND RHEIMS, FRANCE, AND
RECEIVED A DEGREE IN FOREIGN AFFAIRS FROM A COLLEGE IN
MEDEA, ALGERIA IN 1981. THE NEXT YEAR HE BEGAN A
DIPLOMATIC CAREER IN THE DJIBOUTIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY.
BY 1985 HE HAD THE RANK OF EMBASSY COUNSELOR, BUT
REMAINED IN DJIBOUTI. IN 1986 HE TRAINED IN THE
FRENCH MINISTRIES OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND DEVELOPMENT.
IN 1988 HE BECAME DEPUTY HEAD OF PROTOCOL IN THE
PRESIDENT'S OFFICE. IN 1993 HE BECAME COUNSELOR FOR
CONSULAR AFFAIRS AT THE DJIBOUTAN EMBASSY IN PARIS,
WHERE HE REMAINED UNTIL BEING APPOINTED AMBASSADOR TO
ETHIOPIA IN 1996. HE IS DIVORCED WITH ONE CHILD.



4. BARKAT, AGE 70, HAD BEEN PRIME MINISTER FOR 22
YEARS. FOLLOWING A STROKE MARCH 11, 2000, HE SPENT
SIX MONTHS IN A PARIS HOSPITAL. HE RETURNED TO
DJIBOUTI OCTOBER 2, PARTLY PARALYZED. MANY PEOPLE HAD
THOUGHT THAT BARKAT'S LEAVING THE JOB WAS AN OPENING
FOR PROGRESS IN THE POWER-SHARING NEGOTIATIONS WITH
THE FRUD. THE GOVERNMENT AND THE ARMED WING OF THE
FRUD SIGNED A PEACE ACCORD FEBRUARY 7, 2000 THAT ENDED
SIX YEARS OF OCCASIONALLY VIOLENT CLASHES, AND HAVE
BEEN NEGOTIATING EVER SINCE. THE ARMED WING OF THE
FRUD IS LED BY AHMED DINI AHMED WHO SERVED BRIEFLY AS
PRIME MINISTER JUST AFTER INDEPENDENCE. THE
NEGOTIATIONS HAVE NOT BEEN GOING WELL LATELY, AND IT
WAS THOUGHT THAT THE PRIME MINISTERSHIP MIGHT BE A
BARGAINING CHIP WITH THE FRUD.



5. THE PRESIDENT HAS BEEN SPENDING A LOT OF TIME OUT
OF THE COUNTRY RECENTLY. HE HAS BEEN BACK IN DJIBOUTI
FOR ALMOST TWO WEEKS FOLLOWING TRIPS TO KHARTOUM AND
ASMARA, AND HE LEAVES FOR BEIJING IN THE NEXT COUPLE
OF DAYS. THE PRESIDENT DECIDED NOT TO ATTEND THE
AFRICAN SUMMIT ON AFRICAN UNION IN SIRTE, LIBYA,
APPARENTLY PREFERRING TO WORK ON DOMESTIC POLITICS.
BECAUSE THE PRIME MINISTER'S JOB IS LARGELY
CEREMONIAL, IT IS THOUGHT THAT THE PRESIDENT DID NOT
MISS THE SIRTE CONFERENCE JUST TO SELECT SOMEONE FOR
THIS ONE POSITION, AND MORE CABINET CHANGES WILL BE
MADE SOON. HOWEVER, PREDICTING WHOLESALE CABINET
CHANGES HAS BEEN POPULAR SPORT EVER SINCE ISMAIL OMAR
GUELLEH CAME TO POWER IN APRIL 1999, YET THE ONLY
CHANGE HE HAS MADE SO FAR IS TO NAME A NEW PRIME
MINISTER.

YAMAMOTO