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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
03ROME2151
2003-05-16 07:30:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Rome
Cable title:  

EAST AFRICA: NIO HOUDEK'S DISCUSSIONS WITH ITALIAN

Tags:   ER  ET  PREL  UNSCER  UNSC 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ROME 002151 

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF BLOSSOM PERRY

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/15/2013
TAGS: ER ET PREL ET PREL UNSCER UNSC
SUBJECT: EAST AFRICA: NIO HOUDEK'S DISCUSSIONS WITH ITALIAN
MFA OFFICIALS


CLASSIFIED BY: POL MC TOM COUNTRYMAN FOR REASONS 1.5 (B) AND (D).

CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 02 ROME 02151 01 OF 02 160730Z
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ROME 002151

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF BLOSSOM PERRY

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/15/2013
TAGS: ER ET PREL ET PREL UNSCER UNSC
SUBJECT: EAST AFRICA: NIO HOUDEK'S DISCUSSIONS WITH ITALIAN
MFA OFFICIALS


CLASSIFIED BY: POL MC TOM COUNTRYMAN FOR REASONS 1.5 (B) AND (D).

CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 02 ROME 02151 01 OF 02 160730Z

1. (C) SUMMARY: IN MAY 9 CONSULTATIONS IN ROME, NATIONAL
INTELLIGENCE OFFICER (NIO) FOR AFRICA AMB. ROBERT HOUDEK
FOUND A BROAD IDENTITY OF VIEWS WITH ITALIAN MFA DIRECTOR
GENERAL FOR SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA AMB. BRUNO CABRAS AND EAST
AFRICA OFFICE DIRECTOR PAOLA IMPERIALE. CABRAS AGREED WITH
HOUDEK THAT ETHIOPIA WOULD LIKELY ACCEPT THE BORDER
DEMARCATION IN THE END, BUT EMPHASIZED THE NEED FOR THE
GREATEST POSSIBLE COORDINATION BETWEEN THE US AND EU TO
ENSURE THIS HAPPENED. THEY AGREED IN THEIR ANALYSIS OF THE
ISSUES THAT PRES. ISAIAS WOULD FACE ONCE THE BORDER ISSUE WAS
FINALLY RESOLVED. AMB. HOUDEK SAID THAT THE USG PAYS CLOSE
ATTENTION TO SOMALIA AS A TRANSIT POINT FOR TERRORISTS, BUT
ARGUED THAT AL-QAEDA IS MORE INTERESTED IN KENYA, WHICH
PROVIDES MORE OF THE MODERN INFRASTRUCTURE USEFUL FOR ITS
OPERATIONS. CABRAS ARGUED FOR MORE FUNDING OF PUBLIC
SERVICES IN SOMALIA, AS A MEANS OF PREVENTING AN ENTIRE
GENERATION FROM TURNING TO ISLAMIC FUNDAMENTALISM. HOUDEK
COUNTERED THAT PROVIDING MORE RESOURCES MIGHT BE
COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE, GIVING THE COMPETING FACTIONS SOMETHING
TO FIGHT OVER RATHER THAN A REASON TO COMPROMISE WITH EACH
OTHER IN FORMING AN INDIGENOUS GOVERNMENT. END SUMMARY


2. (C) EMBASSY ROME DEEPLY APPRECIATES EFFORTS OF NATIONAL
INTELLIGENCE COUNCIL, STATE/AF AND OF COURSE AMB. ROBERT
HOUDEK TO ARRANGE HIS STOP IN ROME. HIS CONSULTATIONS WITH
THE MFA'S EAST AFRICA EXPERTS (DESCRIBED IN THIS CABLE)
RESPONDED EFFECTIVELY TO A LONG-STANDING REQUEST OF THE MFA
FOR AN EXCHANGE OF VIEWS ON LONG-TERM ISSUES. HIS EXCHANGES
WITH OTHER MFA AFRICA EXPERTS, AND WITH OTHER GOI SENIOR
ANALYSTS, WERE NOT ONLY FASCINATING FOR US TO LISTEN TO, THEY
ALSO DEMONSTRATED OUR INTENT TO KEEP UP CLOSE CONSULTATIONS
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 03 ROME 02151 01 OF 02 160730Z
AS ITALY PREPARES TO ASSUME THE PRESIDENCY OF THE EUROPEAN

UNION (JULY 1). AGAIN, OUR SINCERE THANKS!

ERITREA/ETHIOPIA BORDER DISPUTE


3. (C) CABRAS BEGAN BY ASKING AMBASSADOR HOUDEK WHETHER HE
THOUGHT THE THREAT TO ETHIOPIAN PM MELES' LEADERSHIP FROM
ACCEPTING THE EEBC'S VERDICT WAS REAL OR EXAGGERATED. HOUDEK
RESPONDED THAT MELES IS SMART AND EXAGGERATES THE THREAT TO
HIM IN ORDER TO FIND OUT IF THE US AND EUROPE WILL FIND A WAY
TO HELP HIM ON BADME RATHER THAN RISK "LOSING" HIM. HE HAS
THUS FAR MANIPULATED THE BORDER ISSUE TO WITHSTAND CHALLENGES
TO HIS LEADERSHIP FROM HIS TIGRAYAN BASE. HIS DELAYING
TACTICS HAVE DEMONSTRATED DOMESTICALLY THAT HE DID ALL HE
COULD TO REVERSE THE DECISION. IN HIS GUT, HE KNOWS HE WILL
ULTIMATELY HAVE TO RESPECT THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY'S
INSISTENCE THAT ETHIOPIA ACCEPT THE VERDICT. HOUDEK ALSO
NOTED THAT MELES KNOWS THAT RENEWING THE WAR WOULD BE
SUICIDAL TO ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT. HOUDEK ASSESSED THAT THE
WEST CAN BE SYMPATHETIC TO MELES' DIFFICULT SITUATION, BUT
MUST BE FIRM AND UNITED IN INSISTING ON IMPLEMENTATION OF THE
BORDER DEMARCATION.


4. (C) CABRAS AGREED WITH HOUDEK'S ANALYSIS OF MELES'
MOTIVATIONS AND CONSTRAINTS. ETHIOPIA IS PLAYING ON THE
TENDENCY OF WESTERN COUNTRIES TO LOOK FOR A MORE AGREEABLE
SOLUTION TO ACCOMMODATE BOTH PARTIES. HOWEVER, SUCH ACTION
WOULD NOT ONLY UNDERMINE INTERNATIONAL LAW, BUT ALSO SET A
NEGATIVE PRECEDENT FOR FUTURE BORDER DISPUTE NEGOTIATIONS.
THE EU HAD ALREADY REMINDED BOTH LEADERS OF THEIR AGREEMENT
TO BE BOUND BY THE ARBITRATION; IT WAS IMPORTANT THAT THE EU
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PAGE 04 ROME 02151 01 OF 02 160730Z
AND US STICK CLOSELY TOGETHER. HOUDEK AGREED AND NOTED THAT
ONCE MELES HAS ACCEPTED AND IMPLEMENTED THE VERDICT, THE U.S.
AND THE EU MIGHT EASE THE EFFECTS OF THE DECISION FOR
ETHIOPIA (E.G., WITH FUNDING OF RESETTLEMENT OF FAMILIES AND
REPLACEMENT OF INFRASTRUCTURE.)


5. (C) CABRAS ASKED HOW THE RESOLUTION OF THE BORDER DISPUTE
WOULD AFFECT ISAIAS' DOMESTIC POSITION. HOUDEK RESPONDED
THAT IT WOULD THROW ISAIAS BACK INTO THE "BOILING POT OF
DOMESTIC POLITICS;" TAKING AWAY THE BORDER DISPUTE FORCES
ISAIAS TO ADDRESS DOMESTIC PROBLEMS SUCH AS POLITICAL AND
ECONOMIC REFORM. HOUDEK NOTED THAT ISAIAS HAS PROFOUND
PROBLEMS WITH THE DIASPORA, A REMARKABLY SUCCESSFUL FOREIGN
COMMUNITY IN THE U.S. ALTHOUGH THE DIASPORA IS RESTRAINED IN
SPEAKING OUT PUBLICLY AGAINST THE ERITREAN GOVERNMENT (DUE TO
THEIR FINANCIAL INTERESTS IN ASMARA), ISAIAS IS SLOWLY LOSING
SUPPORT AMONG HIS OVERSEAS BRETHREN. CABRAS NOTED THAT ISAIAS
IS AN EXTREMELY SOLITARY PERSON AND EVEN HIS FEW CLOSEST
ASSOCIATES FOSTER AN INCREASING PARANOIA ABOUT THE WESTERN
WORLD AND A CONSPIRACY AGAINST HIM. HOUDEK REMARKED THAT
SINCE ASSUMING POWER ISAIAS HAS WANTED A CLOSER SECURITY
RELATIONSHIP WITH THE US AS A MEANS OF DETERRENCE. ACCORDING
TO CABRAS, ISAIAS HAS BEEN UNABLE TO FOSTER SUCH A
RELATIONSHIP BECAUSE OF HIS REFUSAL TO TALK WITH WESTERN
OFFICIALS OVER A VARIETY OF INCIDENTS, SUCH AS HIS DECISION

CONFIDENTIAL

CONFIDENTIAL PTQ7627

PAGE 01 ROME 02151 02 OF 02 160730Z
ACTION AF-00

INFO LOG-00 NP-00 AID-00 ACQ-00 INL-00 PERC-00 SRPP-00
DS-00 EAP-00 EUR-00 VC-00 TEDE-00 INR-00 IO-00
L-00 VCE-00 AC-01 DCP-01 NSAE-00 NSCE-00 OIC-02
OIG-03 OMB-01 DHS-00 PA-00 PM-00 PRS-00 ACE-00
P-00 SCT-00 SP-00 SS-00 TRSE-00 T-00 USIE-00
EPAE-00 PMB-00 DSCC-00 PRM-00 DRL-01 G-00 SAS-00
SWCI-00 /009W
-------------- 660812 160731Z /38
P 160730Z MAY 03
FM AMEMBASSY ROME
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9923
INFO IGAD COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY
SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 02 ROME 002151

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF BLOSSOM PERRY

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/15/2013
TAGS: ER ET PREL ET PREL UNSCER UNSC
SUBJECT: EAST AFRICA: NIO HOUDEK'S DISCUSSIONS WITH ITALIAN
MFA OFFICIALS

TO EXPEL THE ITALIAN AMBASSADOR FROM ERITREA.

CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 02 ROME 02151 02 OF 02 160730Z
SOMALIA


6. (C) ASKED FOR AN ASSESSMENT OF TERRORIST ACTIVITY
EMANATING FROM SOMALIA, HOUDEK NOTED THE U.S. VIEWS SOMALIA
AS AN IMPORTANT TRANSIT POINT AND HIDING PLACE FOR
TERRORISTS. HOWEVER, SOMALIA DOES NOT PROVIDE A HOSPITABLE
ENVIRONMENT FOR A SUBSTANTIAL TERRORIST INFRASTRUCTURE
BECAUSE THERE IS NO FRIENDLY GOVERNMENT TO PROTECT THE
TERRORISTS. KENYA, ON THE OTHER HAND, IS A SOPHISTICATED
COUNTRY OFFERING EFFECTIVE PUBLIC INFRASTRUCTURE (I.E.
BANKING, TELECOM, TRANSPORTATION) ENABLING TERRORISTS TO
FUNCTION MORE EFFECTIVELY. ITS SECURITY SERVICES, WHILE
WILLING, ARE NOT EFFECTIVE ENOUGH TO PREVENT TERRORISTS FROM
USING KENYA, MORE THAN SOMALIA, AS AN OPERATIONAL BASE.


7. (C) ON SOMALIA RECONCILIATION EFFORTS, CABRAS NOTED THAT
BOTH OUR CARROTS AND OUR STICKS ARE TOO SMALL TO MAKE THE
FACTIONS SEE THE VALUE OF AN AGREEMENT. MEANWHILE, AN ENTIRE
GENERATION IS GETTING ITS SOCIAL SERVICES, MOST IMPORTANTLY
EDUCATION, FROM FUNDAMENTALIST ISLAMIC NETWORKS. PROVISION
OF EDUCATIONAL AND OTHER PUBLIC SERVICES IS IN THE WESTERN
INTEREST, BUT ITALY AND THE EU ARE STRETCHED TOO THIN TO MAKE
A MAJOR NEW EFFORT. HOUDEK QUESTIONED CABRAS' ASSERTION THAT
RESOURCES AND PUBLIC SERVICES WOULD TRANSFORM SOMALIA. THE
REAL PROBLEM IS THAT SOMALIS VIEW LIFE AS A ZERO SUM GAME
AND, THUS, RELISH THE OPPORTUNITY TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF
FOREIGNERS FOR THEIR OWN GAIN. THE SOMALIS WOULD BE OVERJOYED
TO SEE COMPETITION BETWEEN THE WEST AND THE MUSLIM WORLD, A
LA THE COLD WAR WHERE THE USG AND USSR COURTED THEM WITH
RESOURCES. HOUDEK SUGGESTED THAT A POLICY OF BENIGN NEGLECT
MIGHT DO MORE TO FORCE THE SOMALIS TO TAKE THE LEAD IN
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 03 ROME 02151 02 OF 02 160730Z
ADDRESSING THEIR OWN PROBLEMS.
SEMBLER

CONFIDENTIAL

>
2003ROME02151 - Classification: CONFIDENTIAL