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04DJIBOUTI651 2004-05-03 15:55:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Djibouti
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					C O N F I D E N T I A L DJIBOUTI 000651 


E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/03/2014

Classified By: Ambassador Marguerita D. Ragsdale for reasons 1.4 (b) an
d (d).

1. (U) SUMMARY: Ambassador met with Minister of
Cooperation, Mahamoud Ali Youssouf, May 3, to discuss
Embassy concerns in light of the attack in Yanbu,
Saudi Arabia, on May 1st. Ambassador explained that
the Embassy has assessed that its security posture
should remain the same but raised concern about the
potential for violent public reaction in Djibouti.
Youssouf expressed the Government of Djibouti's shared
concern in maintaining the peace and security of U.S.
citizens in country. END SUMMARY.

2. (C) Ambassador spoke with Minister of Cooperation,
Mahamoud Ali Youssouf, on potential security
concerns for the Embassy and American citizens in light
of the terrorist attack in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia, and
recent televised reports of prisoner mistreatment in
Iraq. Ambassador was clear that security measures at
the Embassy were deemed adequate and should remain the
same, but the attack in Yanbu raised concern about
the possibility of smaller scale attacks. Ambassador
said that because of publicly expressed concerns
that the attack in Yanbu may have been a reaction to
televised reports in the Arab world of mistreatment of
Iraqi detainees, she wanted to ensure that everyone is
on the same page in terms of support of security
related measures. Ambassador states that she was
unsure if the attack in Yanbu is an indication of a
new trend of attacks aimed at smaller Western targets,
rather than a group, or an anomaly.

3. (C) Youssouf responded that the government understood
the concerns and stated, for example, that it was not
in the common interest of Djibouti and the U.S. to
encourage public demonstrations because of their tendency
to get out of hand. He explained that in Djibouti City all
of the vital government targets are located so close
together that if something was triggered at one site, all
would be in danger. He agreed that security is a concern
in light of the Yanbu incident and reports of prisoner
mistreatment. Youssouf said that while popular upheaval
of this kind may be possible in other locations,
Djiboutians have not had a history of such expressive
feelings. He commented that there was indeed a feeling of
dismay and sympathy but the culture of Djibouti is more
reflective and less spontaneous in their reactions.

4. (C) Youssouf continued that he had just been at the
National Assembly answering questions about the benefit
Djibouti derives from the American presence. It is
important, he said, to remind the Djiboutian people of
this. He said the American image in Djibouti is quite
good and that the government is engaged in a campaign
to promote the good that the Americans have done. The
Government hopes that it will show the American interest
in Djibouti as that of a friend and not possessing
hegemonic intentions. Youssouf indicated, however, his
view that the more Iraq stabilizes, the less likely events
such as Yanbu will occur. He continued that stability
needed to come as quickly as possible to Iraq.