|04DJIBOUTI1367||2004-10-26 11:40:00||CONFIDENTIAL||Embassy Djibouti|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
1. (SBU) During a U.N. Day reception October 24, Ambassador
spoke with Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD)
Executive Secretary Dr. H. Bashir Attalla regarding the U.S.
understanding that the newly elected President of the Somali
Transitional Federal Government, Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, and
Speaker of the new Somalia Transitional Federal Assembly,
Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan, had wished to travel to the U.S.
with a small group of advisors the preceding week. (See
reftel) Ambassador told Attalla the U.S. viewed such a visit
as premature and had indicated its belief that it should be
2. (C) Attala agreed that such a visit was premature and said
IGAD had advised Yusuf, who was then in Ethiopia, of this.
Attalla expressed personal disappointment that Yusuf had not
focused on building a government in Mogadishu. He commented
that Yusuf preferred obviously to travel around the world,
seek money, and perform a ceremonial presidential role.
IGAD's advice to him, Attalla said, was to first get a
government together in Mogadishu.
3. (C) Attalla also commented that he had little personal
confidence in Yusuf, whose purchase of his position as
President of the Somali Transitional Federal Government is
"an open secret." Attalla was also concerned that Yusuf may
not be well, physically, as he has undergone a liver
transplant, and that he is at least 10 years older than the
age he publicizes. (Note: According to Attalla, Yusuf is at
least 79 vice 69. End note). Moreover, Attalla questioned
whether Yusuf had the intellectual capability for long-term
leadership and nation-building.
4. (C) On the Somalia conference to be held in Sweden October
29, Ambassador asked Attalla if he or an IGAD representative
would attend. Attalla responded that IGAD would not be
represented. He said he believed the matter of Somalia
should now be picked up actively by donor nations. His
preference, Attalla said, would be to shift IGAD's long-term
focus from conflict management and peace-seeking to broader
matters of regional policy.