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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
04DJIBOUTI1405
2004-11-04 02:27:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Djibouti
Cable title:  

MORE ON OBASANJO VISIT TO DJIBOUTI: SOMALIA AT

Tags:   PREL  PGOV  MOPS  ET  KE  NI  DJ  SO 
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 DJIBOUTI 001405 

SIPDIS

LONDON, PARIS FOR AFRICA WATCHER

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/03/2014
TAGS: PREL PGOV MOPS ET KE NI DJ SO
SUBJECT: MORE ON OBASANJO VISIT TO DJIBOUTI: SOMALIA AT
FOREFRONT OF TALKS

REF: DJIBOUTI 1390

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

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 DJIBOUTI 001405

SIPDIS

LONDON, PARIS FOR AFRICA WATCHER

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/03/2014
TAGS: PREL PGOV MOPS ET KE NI DJ SO
SUBJECT: MORE ON OBASANJO VISIT TO DJIBOUTI: SOMALIA AT
FOREFRONT OF TALKS

REF: DJIBOUTI 1390

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


1. (C) Ambassador met with Minister of Cooperation Mahamoud
Ali Youssouf 3 November, at her request, to address several
items. Among them was a discussion on the nature of Nigerian
President Olesugun Obasanjo's visit to Djibouti. Youssouf
confirmed reports in the local press (see reftel) that the
visit was merely a refueling stopover for Obasanjo's aircraft
and that discussion had focused primarily on Somalia. He
clarified that originally the arrangement was for Guelleh to
meet Obasanjo in the VIP lounge at the airport, but Guelleh
insisted that the two heads of state have discussions at his
private residence. Youssouf said that it was Guelleh's
desire to discuss with Obasanjo details of the Darfur
mediation, African Union peacekeepers to Somalia and
prospects for international aid to Somalia. These were
relevant topics in the context of Obasanjo's AU role and the
possible membership of Nigeria in the U.N. Security Council.
He commented that the meeting between the two presidents had
lasted less than one hour.


2. (C) In response to Ambassador's question on whether
Obasanjo had expressed his views on the likelihood of new
Somalian President Abdillahi Yusuf being able to bring
together the different factions, Youssouf commented only on
the perspective of the Djiboutian government. He stated that
President Guelleh thinks it will be very, very difficult for
Yusuf to accomplish this task. There are three big issues
impeding Yusuf's success, he continued. First, he is known as
a former military person, tough and inflexible. Second, he
has been personally involved in the overall "mess" in
Somalia. Third, he is facing very serious problems with
Somaliland, as evident by recent fighting between Puntland
and Somalia that has claimed over 100 lives. However,
Youssouf commented, "we think, given the situation and
support of the international community, he seems to be moving
in the right direction."


3. (C) Youssouf then said the main question for Abdillahi
Yusuf's new government was how to install itself in
Mogadishu. He said in order to do this Yusuf will need to
make concessions to the Hawiye and Abgal, the clans that
occupy the area around Mogadishu. Youssouf thought that this
might mean appointment of an Abgal Prime Minister. After
concessions to the Hawiye and Abgal, Yusuf should then move
towards pacifying the other factions, Youssouf said.
However, he continued, "this will be an impossible mission
without African Union military support." Only after the
factions were pacified will Yusuf be able to begin
disarmament.


4. (C) Ambassador commented that the process Youssouf
described seemed a good one, but the question remains: Is
Yusuf the one able to do it? Youssouf made the comment that
Djibouti was not initially behind Abdillahi Yusuf's candidacy
but will support him because Djibouti needs peace and
stability in Somalia. He continued that Somaliland's stance
of non-cooperation was predictable because of the negative
history between Yusuf and Somaliland. Yusuf was one of the
officers in the army who moved to crush Somaliland resistance
under Siad Barre. Yet it is believed that Yusuf is the one
needed to lead because he will be strong enough and have guts
enough to handle a crisis decisively. Indeed, Youssouf
commented, it is believed that Yusuf would be able
successfully to crush any challenge to the new regime's
authority.


5. (C) Youssouf said the Government of Djibouti believes that
Yusuf has already shown a willingness to make concessions.
Yusuf had told the transitional parliament that it could
select a Prime Minister either within or outside of
parliament, as their choice. He commented that Yusuf's main
ambition was merely to come to office as President and once
in office, be more flexible. He said Yusuf had made public
plans to travel to Brussels, Cairo and New York.


6. (C) Ambassador commented that the IGAD Executive Secretary
preferred that Yusuf wait on planned visits to Brussels,
Cairo and New York until he has a full government in place.
Youssouf agreed that this was a wise course and said Yusuf,
who Youssouf believed was now in Kenya, should have thought
more thoroughly before going even to Ethiopia. He also stated
that perhaps Yusuf was going quickly to visit international
entities in order to gain legitimacy and financial support
through their recognition of his status.
RAGSDALE