|04DJIBOUTI1072||2004-08-09 13:48:00||CONFIDENTIAL||Embassy Djibouti|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
1. (U) Summary: Congressman Donald Payne and HIRC Ted Dagne
met with President Ismael Omar Guelleh 9 August 2004 during a
visit to the Horn of Africa region. Poloff and Charge
Gribbin accompanied. Payne and Guelleh discussed regional
stability, prospects for Somalia peace accords, the
Eritrea/Ethiopian border dispute and the Darfur situation.
2. (U) Guelleh began the meeting by summarizing the regional
situation, saying that it had been struggling for decades
against poverty, famine, and civil war. He continued that is
has been and remains Djibouti's first priority to stabilize
the region. Guelleh said the situation between Ethiopia and
Eritrea is an issue of sensitivity and emotions, but with
good will on both sides hopefully the situation will be
resolved and thousands of displaced persons could return
home. Afterwards reconstruction and rehabilitation could
begin. He commented that each year $200 million is spent to
keep UN peacekeepers on the border, money which could be used
to help the people of the region. Guelleh commented that
Eritrea has real famine in that region. On Somalia, Guelleh
commented that the peace process will hopefully solve the
problems of power sharing and provide a starting point for
the transitional government. He said it was necessary to put
pressure on and money into Somalia, taking out the weapons
and demobilizing and disarming the warlords. Guelleh
commented that reaching small, rural villages, AIDS and
illiteracy were still large problems that would need to be
improved in order to better the situation in Somalia.
3. (C) Guelleh then said Djibouti was happy to have American
forces present and to have participated in the fight against
terrorism. He commented that there have been very successful
operations in 2002 and 2003 to stop the flow of persons
trying to reach Somalia, which have resulted in improved
maritime security and an end to piracy. However, he
continued, Yemen is still not stable and the movement of
people from Pakistan and the Gulf countries to East Africa is
a difficult problem for intelligence and armed forces.
Guelleh stated that Djibouti wants to use its strategic
position to contribute to international peace security.
Guelleh then mentioned the cooperation between USAID and GODJ
in developing education and health, saying both programs have
had good progress. Congressman Payne replied that he was
pleased that Djibouti is stable, appreciates the welcome and
open arms given to the American presence, and looks forward
to continued cooperation with Djibouti.
4. (SBU/NF) When asked by Congressman Payne about Somalia
peace process and Somaliland, Guelleh replied that Somalia
was probably the only country in Africa that could be titled
a "nation," based on its common race, culture, religion and
language, and that Djibouti believes in the unity of Somalia.
He said Djibouti has social and economic ties to Somaliland
because they are our neighbors and relatives, but Djibouti
has always been for one Somalia. Guelleh said that there is
a movement calling for a presidential candidate from
Somaliland and that may be a solution that could work.
Guelleh said that the clans that make up Somaliland are half
in the North and half in the South, and this might be a
reason a Somalilander president could succeed. If it did
succeed, he said, it would be a very big change.
Powersharing between the clans is the only way to peace.
5. (U) As for Guelleh's suggestions on the Ethiopia/Eritrea
border disputes, Guelleh said that Ethiopia had not rejected
the decision, but wants to be sure that the demarcation was
both practical and humanitarian and would be an end to the
fight between the countries. He also said that Eritrea feels
that the international community is against them. Payne
replied that President Isaias of Eritrea has taken the
awarding of Badme to Eritrea as the final decision and does
not want more discussion and these sorts of corrections
should have been made during the process. Guelleh said the
decision of the Hague is non-negotiable, a fact that the
Ethiopians are aware of, but they feel practicality and
humanitarian needs should be taken into account prior to
6. (U) Elaborating on Sudan, Guelleh said that it is
necessary to determine who is Janjaweed who are Chadians
hired by the Janjaweed and put pressure from a firm
international community on them to stop. He felt that if the
parties cooperate there could be a resolution within two
months. Convincing people to go home from the camps may take