|04DJIBOUTI1617||2004-12-22 12:17:00||CONFIDENTIAL||Embassy Djibouti|
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 DJIBOUTI 001617
1. (C) SUMMARY: Ambassador Ragsdale delivered reftel (B)
demarche on December 22 to Minister of Cooperation in the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mahamoud Ali Youssouf. Youssouf
told the Ambassador that the meeting in Khartoum on December
28 is a regularly scheduled one among the self-proclaimed
"axis" of Sudan, Yemen and Ethiopia. He said it is highly
unlikely Djibouti's President Ismail Omar Guelleh would
attend (pending confirmation) and that to his knowledge no
trip is currently planned to Khartoum by President Guelleh.
Youssouf also said that Djibouti expects that at the axis
meeting, Yemeni President Saleh will push for greater
cooperation with Eritrea, which could likely cause the
collapse of the axis before the end of the year. The
Ambassador delivered the talking points on Sudan and Darfur
for Youssouf's reference. END SUMMARY
2. (U) The Ambassador and the POL/PD officer met with
Minister of Cooperation in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
Mahamoud Ali Youssouf to address the rumor that President
Guelleh would be traveling to Sudan on December 26 and to
deliver talking points on the U.S. position on Sudan and
Darfur provided in reftel (B).
3. (U) The Ambassador explained that the U.S. is concerned
that recent events in Darfur will negatively impact
north-south peace negotiations, and that Secretary Powell
recently expressed strong displeasure with the Government of
Sudan's failure to abide by commitments to end the violence.
She asked that President Guelleh convey a strong message to
Sudan about the importance of living up to its promises.
4. (U) Youssouf indicated that the Djiboutian government is
also acutely concerned about the Darfur situation, but that
to his knowledge President Guelleh has no/no plans to travel
to Sudan at the end of December. He promised to provide
confirmation to the Ambassador, however, no later than
Thursday, December 23.
5. (C) Youssouf said that there is a meeting in Sudan at the
end of the month for the Ethiopian, Sudanese and Yemeni heads
of state. It is a regularly scheduled one among this
self-proclaimed axis. He said Djibouti had been approached to
join the axis several times in the past, especially by the
Yemenis, and has each time declined because of what Djibouti
perceives as the group's anti-Eritrean political agenda.
Youssouf said Djibouti told the axis that a regional medium,
IGAD, already existed, and that meetings promoting regional
welfare should include all Horn of Africa states, including
Eritrea, which had not been invited to any of the axis
6. (C) Youssouf added that reports following the recent
meeting of Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki to Yemen, and
indications gleaned from the Yemeni president's recent
declarations, leads him to believe that Yemeni President
Saleh will use the December meeting to mediate in the
Sudan-Eritrea and Ethiopia-Eritrea disputes and will carry a
"very positive, very peaceful message" to Khartoum. This will
be a clear change in position for Yemen, which spearheaded
the formation of the axis, Youssouf said.
7.(C) Youssouf said that tensions remain high between Eritrea
and Ethiopia. He noted that the recent visit of a U.S.
delegation to Eritrea, and not Ethiopia, raised questions
from Ethiopia. Tensions are also high between Eritrea and
Sudan, Youssouf said, and added that if Saleh promotes
rapprochement it may cause the collapse of the axis. If Saleh
cannot convince his counterparts to de-escalate tensions with
Eritrea, Youssouf predicts Yemen will withdraw from the
coalition. He added that disputes between Eritrea and other
countries are poisoning regional relations and pose a "very
intricate problem" in the region.
8.(C) Youssouf said that if South African President Mbeki
travels to Sudan at the end of December it will likely be to
address Darfur and to stress the African Union's most recent
and strongly-worded position on the Darfur crisis.
9. (U) Khartoum minimize considered.