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04DJIBOUTI1621 2004-12-27 13:08:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Djibouti
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					C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 DJIBOUTI 001621 



E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/27/2014





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

1. (C) SUMMARY: On December 27, the Ambassador and CJTF-HOA
Commanding General Samuel Helland met with the Minister of
Foreign Affairs Ali Abdi Farah, at the Minister's request, to
discuss the proposed expansion of Camp Lemonier. The Minister
said that Djiboutian President Ismail Omar Guelleh told him
to convey a message that the Government of Djibouti (GODj)
does not object in principle to the expansion of Camp
Lemonier as part of lease negotiations, but that the GODj
requires that technicians from the Department of Defense meet
technicians from the GODj in/in Djibouti to do a physical
survey of the proposed expansion area to avoid confusion over
the proposed terrain's perimeter. The Minister also used the
opportunity to thank CJTF-HOA for its involvement in civil
affairs projects and to request three specific projects for
the town of Arta. END SUMMARY.

2. (C) The Ambassador and CJTF-HOA Commanding General Samuel
Helland met December 27 with Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali
Abdi Farah, at the Minister's request, to discuss the
proposed expansion of the territory of Camp Lemonier. No
advance information on the purpose of the meeting had been
provided. They were joined by the acting Pol/Econ officer
(Embassy notetaker) and the Director of Bilateral Relations,
Mohamed Ali Hassan (GODj notetaker and translator). The
Minister began by stating that he had personally invited the
Djiboutian Minister of Defense to join in the meeting, but
that he was unable to participate due to another pressing

3. (C) The Minister continued that President Ismail Omar
Guelleh specifically requested he convey a message that the
GODj does not object in principle to the proposed expansion
of Camp Lemonier, but that it is necessary that technicians
from the U.S. Department of Defense meet technicians from the
GODj on the ground in Djibouti to physically walk over the
land proposed for the expansion. The Minister said the
diagram submitted for the proposed expansion is not enough
and that a physical survey is necessary and appropriate for
transparency and to avoid misunderstandings over what
constitutes the specific plot of land. He said that it does
not matter to the GODj whether the technicians come from
Washington or if the survey is done by American soldiers
already stationed in Djibouti or by appropriate individuals
from the Embassy.

4. (C) The Minister stressed that the technicians must "see
and agree" on the proposed plot of land before the GODj will
approve the expansion. He termed it "a question of
confidence." He said the land is public property and that the
GODj wanted to avoid the type of misunderstanding that
happened during previous lease negotiations for Camp Lemonier
concerning the Presidential hangar and its surrounding area.

5. (C) The Ambassador inquired whether Djibouti's principal
negotiator for lease discussions, Ambassador Olhaye in
Washington, is aware of this request. The Minister responded
that this is a matter that must be taken care of here in
Djibouti and that Ambassador Olhaye is not in charge of the
"technical side" of the negotiations because he cannot
physically survey the land. This should be done in
Djibouti.(COMMENT: The Minister never directly said whether
or not Olhaye is aware of this request. END COMMENT) The
Minister also stated that the President believes such a move
is "more transparent" and "more appropriate," so that
Djibouti's army can understand the American military
requirements and "have confidence."

6. (C) The Ambassador told the Minister she will convey the
request to Washington, but the decision must be made there,
as neither the Embassy nor CJTF-HOA are involved in the
negotiations. General Helland concurred, and the Minister
said he understood.

7. (C) General Helland stressed to the Minister that there
can be only one contact person for the survey, and that the
Department of Defense currently considers Ambassador Olhaye
to be the contact person for negotiations. The Minister said
he will ask the President who should be considered the
primary point of contact in Djibouti for the technical survey
and will pass the information to the Ambassador by the
afternoon of December 27 or the morning of December 28.

8. (C) The Minister expressed President Guelleh's
appreciation for the work the American military is doing in
Djibouti, especially in its primary task: the struggle
against terrorism. The Minister said that the GODj considers
this struggle an important stability factor in the Horn of
Africa. He said the civil affairs work being done in the
districts is a good initiative and is greatly appreciated by
the Djiboutian population. He called the school and hospital
rehabilitations "fruitful" adding that they "bring together
the American military and the Djiboutian people."

9. (C) In addition, the Minister said that during the recent
Cabinet meeting led by the President in the town of Arta, the
people complained about occasional noise from a nearby
joint-use, French-American military training site; however,
he said that overall the people of Arta were appreciative of
the American civil affairs efforts in the town and are more
comfortable with the American military presence following
these projects. The Minister said he wanted to seize the
opportunity posed by the General's presence to request three
specific projects for Arta: a small incinerator similar to
the one installed at Doudah; a small ambulance; and a fence
around a primary school in the town.

10. (C) The General told the Minister it is a honor and
pleasure to be a guest in Djibouti and praised the work of
Generals Fathi and Zacharia as interlocutors with CJTF-HOA.
The said he looks forward to continuing to work with the GODj.

11. (C) The Ambassador expressed her appreciation for
CJTF-HOA's help to the Embassy and to Djibouti, and told the
Minister that she hopes that base negotiations will be
quickly and satisfactorily concluded.

12. (C) COMMENT: The request by President Guelleh, through
his Minister of Foreign Affairs, for a technical survey
reflects, in Post's view, the Djiboutian military's lack of
confidence in the capacity of Ambassador Olhaye to represent
fully their interests in the current round of base
negotiations. While it is a problem in need of an internal
fix, it has reverberations for the U.S. The Djiboutian
military does not want "misunderstandings" of lease and base
details. There is an inexact understanding of the specifics
of the volume of land the U.S. is requesting -- maps,
diagrams and coordinates notwithstanding. The GODj wants the
land "walked off" (in simple terms), so that there is clarity
about what areas the Department of Defense envisions a future
Camp Lemonier encompassing. END COMMENT.