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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
04DJIBOUTI1269 2004-09-30 10:39:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Djibouti
Cable title:  

SCENESETTER FOR GENERAL ABIZAID'S VISIT TO DJIBOUTI

Tags:   PREL KPAO MARR OVIP DJ 
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					C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 DJIBOUTI 001269 

SIPDIS

STATE FOR AF AND AF/E; CENTCOM FOR POLAD JOHN HOLZMAN;
CENTCOM FORWARD FOR GENERAL ABIZAID

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/27/2014
TAGS: PREL KPAO MARR OVIP DJ
SUBJECT: SCENESETTER FOR GENERAL ABIZAID'S VISIT TO DJIBOUTI

REF: DJIBOUTI 529

Classified By: Ambassador Marguerita D. Ragsdale.
For reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).



1. (C) Summary: Combating poverty, improving the nation's
health and education infrastructures and services and
promoting economic development are top priorities for the
Government of Djibouti. Embassy Djibouti and CJTF-HOA are
working in tandem to assist in these areas. Economic
ventures undertaken within the country must be seen within
the context of the desire of the President of Djibouti to
boost Djibouti's economy. Moreover, a major joint-venture
port construction project with Emirates National Oil Company
(ENOC) is being touted as an integral part of Djibouti's
economic future. When the port comes on line in 2005, it
will also support oil storage objectives of the U.S. Navy in
the region under a contract with Defense Energy Support
Center (DESC).



2. (C) Djibouti's attitude toward the U.S. remains favorably
disposed. The U.S. military is in the process of negotiating
extension of its lease and access at Camp Lemonier and
President Guelleh has made known his desire to see the U.S.
play a positive role in achieving security and stability in
the Horn of Africa region. He is urging international
community support of the Somali reconciliation process but
also agreed recently to host a Somaliland interests, office
in Djibouti. Foreign affairs agencies in Washington are
re-examining core U.S. strategy for engagement in Somalia and
Somaliland, but remain committed at this point to a unified
Somalia. U.S.-Djibouti military and anti-terrorism
cooperation remain strong and Djibouti continues to support
our ongoing efforts at terrorist interdiction in the region.
Djibouti is less than satisfied, however, with the pace of
delivery of equipment promised or pledged under the Foreign
Military Financing (FMF) program and has voiced its concerns
with the Ambassador, to which we have been responsive.



3. (C) On issues outside the region, President Guelleh has
been quite vocal in expressing a deep disappointment with the
lack of progress in ending the conflict between Israelis and
Palestinians. End summary.

Focus on Domestic Development Priorities


--------------------------




4. (C) The top domestic priorities for the Government of
Djibouti are combating poverty, improving the nation's health
and education infrastructures and services , and promoting
economic development. Through USAID, the U.S. is assisting
the Government of Djibouti implement a nation-wide education
reform program at funding of USD 14 million over three years.
We are also assisting the Government of Djibouti to
increase, at a funding level of USD 12 million over three
years, equitable access to health care particularly of the
poor , and the provision of quality and efficient health
care to reduce infant, child and maternal mortality. We are
joined in these efforts by the numerous small school and
clinic rehabilitation and refurbishment projects undertaken
successfully by the Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa
(CJTF-HOA) at Camp Lemonier.



5. (C) The U.S. is also assisting Djibouti increase
opportunities for international sale of its livestock and is
funding construction of a holding pen for livestock destined
for the Arabian Peninsula to include veterinary inspection
and export certification. Camp Lemonier has expressed
concerns about the proximity of the pen to the Camp and is
seeking clarification from USAID of the facility's
environmental implications.



6. (C) President Guelleh is the driving force behind many
economic ventures that the Djiboutian government hopes will
boost the nation's economy. He is most proud of the port of
Doraleh, and the economic potential he sees in this
joint-venture construction project with Emirates National Oil
Company (ENOC). Doraleh is being touted as an integral part
of Djibouti's economic future. Once completed, it will have
a Free Zone, an oil storage terminal facility, a container
terminal, and a bulk terminal. The oil terminal facility
will be the first to come on line, with a target completion
date of May, 2005. Oil companies operating in Djibouti have
already received notice of the requirement that they relocate
their operations to Doraleh where they will be obliged to
lease oil storage tanks from ENOC. Four of the oil storage
tanks have been reserved for exclusive use of the U.S. Navy
under an open-tender Defense Energy Support Center (DESC)
contract with ENOC.



7. (C) Djibouti is anxious to qualify in Fiscal Year 2005 for
additional economic development assistance under the
Millennium Challenge Act of 2003. The Act authorizes the
provision of economic assistance to countries that enter into
compacts with the U.S. to support internal policies and
programs that advance the prospects of lasting economic
growth and poverty reduction. Eligibility will depend on
Djibouti's ability to demonstrate its commitment to just and
democratic governance, economic freedom and investment in its
people. Djibouti still has much work to do in these areas,
but we are cooperating with the Millennium Challenge
Corporation (MCC) and the Government of Djibouti to provide
the data needed for an earnest assessment.

Looking at the Horn of Africa Region and a U.S. Role


--------------------------



--------------------------





8. (C) President Guelleh expects a positive United States
role in the achievement of security and stability in the Horn
of Africa region and in the resolution of regional conflicts.
In his speech before the General Assembly of the United
Nations on September 22, he highlighted the need for
international support and assistance for regional
peacekeeping efforts, as well as placing an emphasis on
solving the problem of terrorism by getting at its root
rather than reacting immediately with military force. In that
address, he also detailed the problem of arms trafficking in
Africa and the need to halt the diversion of Africa's
resources away from its critical needs.



9. (C) President Guelleh is also urging the international
community to provide assistance and support to the Somali
reconciliation process. Djibouti, like the U.S, wishes to
see a unified Somalia. Nevertheless, Guelleh agreed recently
to host a Somaliland interests, office in Djibouti and
Somaliland continues to press the U.S. and other nations for
political recognition. U.S. foreign affairs agencies have
begun a process of re-examining core U.S. strategy for
counter-terrorism, political and economic engagement in
Somalia and Somaliland, and our long-term policy with respect
to both. U.S. Embassy Nairobi recently conducted a security
assessment of Somaliland by sending three of its officers,
including the Regional Security Officer (RSO) to Hargeisa.

Strong U.S.- Djibouti Military
and Anti-terrorism Cooperation


--------------------------





10. (C) The attitude of the Government of Djibouti and the
general population continues to be favorably disposed towards
the United States. U.S.- Djibouti military and
anti-terrorism cooperation remain strong and Djibouti is
supporting our ongoing efforts at terrorist interdiction.
Training programs under the East Africa Counter-terrorism
initiative (EACTI) have taken place with law enforcement,
military, and intelligence personnel. Djibouti is less than
satisfied, however, with the pace of delivery of equipment
promised or pledged under FMF. General Fathi, Commander of
the Djiboutian Armed Forces, has raised this issue with
Ambassador and with USLO Chief. We have received
clarification from the Defense Security Cooperation Agency
(DSCA) on the FMF process, and on delivery and have conveyed
this information to General Fathi. General Fathi has also
expressed to Ambassador, formally, his desire to see better
coordination between the U.S. and Djibouti on use of local
military firing ranges. CJTF-HOA Commander Helland has
addressed this issue with General Fathi and is sending a
follow-up letter.



11. (C) The U.S., under Department of Defense auspices, began
on September 16 negotiations with Djibouti on renewal of the
U.S. military's lease agreement for Camp Lemonier. Lead U.S.
negotiator Theresa Whelan, Deputy Assistant Secretary of
Defense for Africa, has already provided Ambassador Olhaye in
Washington with a draft agreement.

Concerns About the Middle East


--------------------------





12. (C) President Guelleh has not been very vocal publicly in
either supporting or condemning the U.S.-led war in
Afghanistan or in Iraq, perhaps out of deference to his
country's hosting of the U.S. military. In a conversation
with the Ambassador in April of this year, Guelleh cautioned
that U.S. efforts to "shut down" Moqtada al-Sadr were having
the opposite effect. Instead of earning the Shiite leader
detractors, it was making him more popular. (see reftel)



13. (C) By contrast, Guelleh has been consistently vocal
about his deep disappointment with a lack of progress in
ending the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.
Guelleh faults Israel for the impasse. In his recent speech
before the United Nations, he expressed the view that the
occupation of the West Bank and Gaza is part of a three and a
half decades-long process of blatant confiscation of
Palestinian lands, farmlands and water resources. He
criticized Israel's separation wall, which he stated makes an
already explosive situation worse and creates irreversible
facts on the ground. Israel's actions, in Guelleh,s view,
have made a mockery of the U.S. "Road Map" and rendered it
worthless. In this same speech, he described the
Palestinians as "struck with an indefinite deprivation, a
sense of hopelessness and statelessness" and criticized the
United Nations for its inability to constrain Israel.
RAGSDALE