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04DJIBOUTI437 2004-03-25 09:25:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Djibouti
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					C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 DJIBOUTI 000437 



E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/25/2014


REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D).

1. (C) Summary: The March 22 Intergovernmental Authority on
Development (IGAD) Ministerial in Djibouti had three agenda
items: Somalia and Sudan peace processes, election of an
Executive Secretariat and arrears of IGAD member states. On
Sudan, IGAD ministers are pleased at progress made in Kenya
peace talks and are certain an Abyei agreement will be
reached, enabling signing of a final peace accord. On
Somalia, the reconciliation conference is seen as a fragile
entity that cannot move forward progressively absent return
of dissenting warlords. In remarks to Ambassador, IGAD
Executive Secretary General Hamad Bashir Attallah made a plea
for U.S. intervention and commitment at the political level
and hinted at Ethiopian complicity in a bid to de-stabilize
the Reconciliation Conference. IGAD's current Executive
Secretary was re-confirmed as Executive Secretary for a

further four years and Uganda received much flack for an
arrears amount to IGAD totaling USD 3 million. End summary.

2. (C) Ambassador Hamad Bashir Attallah, Executive Secretary
of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD)
Secretariat, briefed Ambassador March 25 on the March 22

Djibouti meeting of IGAD ministers. Ambassador, along with
other diplomatic corps members, had attended the opening
session of the Ministerial, in which Uganda's Minister of
State for Foreign Affairs, Augustine Nshimye (in Uganda's
capacity as chair) outlined the progress of the Somalia
Reconciliation Conference. According to Attallah, three
agenda items were covered in the closed session which
followed: the Somalia and Sudan peace processes, election of
an Executive Secretary of IGAD, and arrears of IGAD member


Sudan and Somalia


3. (C) On Sudan, Attallah said Dr. Mustafa Osman Ismail,
Sudan's Foreign Minister, briefed on the Sudan peace process,
stating that it is on track despite the lingering dispute
over Abyei. Ismail also said that the parties are studying
closely the Danforth compromise proposal on Abyei. (Note:
Attallah acknowledged the SPLM/A's acceptance of the Danforth
proposal and said he believes Sudan will also accept. End
Note) Ismail said both the Government of Sudan and the
SPLM/A were committed to peace -- a statement reiterated by
Kenya's State Minister and Special Envoy Kiplagat. The
Kenyan minister urged in the March 22 session that the
difficulty over Abyei not be exaggerated.

4. (C) On Somalia, the Kenyan minister laid out the current
problems with the Conference. Kiplagat contributed, noting
the controversy over the issue of Members of Parliament (see
reftel) which precluded movement into the third phase of
talks. They noted that Somalis who withdrew in Nairobi from
the process have still not returned, but said Kenya would
approach the dissenting group again to urge a return to

5. (C) Attallah gave Ambassador Ragsdale a copy of a
declaration sent March 19 in Nairobi to the IGAD chair,
Ministerial Committee Chairs, the Facilitation Committee
chair, the Secretariat, Partners Forum, and member states
from certain Somalis threatening to withdraw from the
Conference. He said he and the IGAD ministers were very
troubled by this document. For the first time, so many
prominent and influential members of the conference had
signed and all threatened to withdraw. The Kenyan envoy
dismissed it as only a threat, Attallah said, but the concern
among ministers remains deep. Ministers agreed to meet again
in two weeks in Nairobi for further talks.


A Plea to the United States


6. (C) Attallah urged that the United States intervene now on
what he called "the political side" of the Somalia conflict
and in a direct way. He said so many ask why America is so
involved in Sudan and chooses to ignore completely what is
going on in Somalia? Ambassador noted U.S. continuing
efforts to engage on Somalia and its financial support to the
Conference. Attallah countered that much of U.S. engagement
is at the military level. It has put in place a military
organ to watch Somalia but not one to influence the political
process. America has to play a role, he stated, in the same
way that Italy, Great Britain and the EU is playing a role.
Britain, for example, has sent a high level special envoy.
Attallah warned that Somalia could disintegrate into further
chaos, become another Afghanistan or another haven for
terrorists if attention to the political dimension is not
paid. He added that Somalis want the U.S. to be there and a
U.S. presence is more important than its financial support.
Attallah commented that the United States genuinely has made
a difference in the Sudan peace process and believes that
success could be a model for Somalia. He also praised a
statement the U.S. made three weeks ago on Somalia, claiming
it was the first comment of this kind coming from the U.S.


Election and Arrears


7. (C) On the ministerial's second agenda item, election of
the Executive Secretary, Attallah said Kenya had put forth a
candidate to challenge him but eventually withdrew that
candidate. IGAD members decided, admittedly with some
contention, Attallah said, that he would continue as
Executive Secretary. Attallah, a Sudanese national, will now
serve an additional four years.

8. (C) On the third agenda item, financial contributions and
arrears, Attallah said a great deal of discussion took place
in the ministerial over the failure of Uganda, since the
establishment of IGAD, to pay any of its financial
obligations to the organization. He said Uganda owed USD 3
million in arrears to IGAD. The Uganda ministers present
acknowledged the arrears, but tried to place them in the
context of other arrears owed to organizations in which
Uganda is a member. Attallah said he heard no viable
explanation for Uganda's refusal to pay. The Ugandans made a
commitment on behalf of their government to try to clear up
arrears but had no real authority, according to Attallah, to
speak for President Museveni. The second worst offender on
the arrears side, Attallah said, is Djibouti, which owes USD
500,000. Djibouti needs to demonstrate, he continued, that
it is committed to IGAD by settling these arrears, especially
since it derives considerable benefit from the presence of
the IGAD Secretariat, including holding 50 per cent of all
Secretariat jobs. Attallah added that Sudan, Ethiopia,

Eritrea, and Kenya, by contrast, have been "very faithful" to


An Ethiopian Role


9. (C) Ambassador met separately at the Sheraton Hotel March
24 with Yusuf Hassan Ibrahim, Minister of Foreign Affairs of
the Somalia Transitional National Government (TNG). Ibrahim
stated to her that the IGAD ministers were worried most about
the flow of arms into Somalia and pointed an accusatory
finger directly and inflexibly at Ethiopia. Ibrahim also
queried Ethiopia's sincerity in wanting a successful peace
process. In Attalah's meeting with Ambassador, Attallah
pointed out that all the signatories to the March 19 document
referred to here were allied with Ethiopia. In addition,
Hassan Abshir Farah, TNG Prime Minister, who also signed the
document, was recently relieved of his responsibility
(officially, although he remains in the process because of
his status as earlier signatory to the agreement) and now
appears to be allying with the Ethiopia group, according to
Attallah. The same, Attallah said, applies to Abdallah
Derow, Speaker of the Parliament for TNG. Attallah, like
Ibrahim, reiterated the importance of Ethiopia to the success
of the Somalia Reconciliation Conference. End comment.