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04DJIBOUTI915 2004-07-02 09:15:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Djibouti
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E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (U) SUMMARY: Djibouti marked the 27th anniversary of its
independence from France, Sunday, June 27, 2004 with
Government hosted celebrations including a military parade
and a reception at the Presidential Palace. Ambassador with
USLO attended the early morning parade, and was accompanied
by USLO, Pol/Econ, PAO and USAID at the presidential
reception. There, in the presence of his cabinet, parliament
members, the former President of Djibouti, village elders and
a host of other Djiboutian citizens and invited guests,
President Ismael Omar Guelleh addressed the population in two
speeches: one in French and one in Somali. In his remarks in
French, he spoke about measuring progress, the necessity of
building a democratic state, his own progress as President,
ties with the larger world, and the problems of Iraq, the
Palestinians, Somalia and Sudan in the Near East and Horn of
Africa region. Guelleh's speech in Somali was impromptu and
was not published in the newspapers or copied to the
diplomatic community. END SUMMARY.

2. (U) President Ismael Omar Guelleh's speech in French to
the people of Djibouti began by underlining the importance of
progress taking time, saying "the progress of nations is not
measured by a combination of ephemeral events, but by
successive historic steps taken by each generation to leave
the next with the best of its own." Guelleh continued that
in celebrating the day of independence, "it reminds us to ask
ourselves if each one of us has done all that can be done for
succeeding generations." Guelleh transitioned into the topic
of presidential elections by speaking of next year's
celebration being led by "the leaders chosen by the
Djiboutian people in the next presidential election."

3. (U) Guelleh commented that whoever is elected will be
expected to build an efficient democratic state which stands
against all forms of discrimination, continue to build a
liberal economy to generate wealth and employment, construct
a society of solidarity and favor a cultural renaissance in
line with the times, respectful of the Djiboutian identity.

4. (U) Guelleh was confident in assessing his performance of
the objectives he initiated, saying "I believe that we have
reached the objectives that constitute a reinvention of a
modern and modest nation, conscious not to just take the
missions that it is able to accomplish, but determined to
assume full responsibility, with forward thinking and the
capacity of innovation." Guelleh continued that "the best
sign of our commitment to independence and the most solid
gauge of its longevity resides in the concretisation of our
firm will to render justice to the women of Djibouti."
Guelleh also highlighted his administration's creation of a
Family Code of Law, which using a combination of French civil
code and Sharia law, and replaces the use of Sharia law in
family matters.

5. (U) Guelleh's speech also addressed the widening of
Djibouti's diplomatic circles and friendships around the
globe. Guelleh commented that the decision by COMESA to hold
the next summit in Djibouti is a "mark of confidence in the
manner of Djiboutian diplomacy over the past 27 years
striving to make an efficient instrument of service to our
economic ambition and to present the international scene with
a confirmation of our will to work towards peace and harmony
throughout, for African and Arab-Islamic unity."

6. (U) Speaking on the current round of Somali peace talks in
Nairobi, Guelleh said that after two years of negotiation,
its final phase "fulfills the hopes that we have, in the
course of this summer by the grace of God, for the creation
of republican institutions under the sovereign will of the
Somali people." Guelleh then called for international
support of the next Somali government saying, "no structure
of a State can be viable if the international community does
not cement its support by furnishing and accompanying the
institution of the next Somali government, with the human,
material and financial means necessary to accomplish its

7. (U) Guelleh added, however, that "by contrast, the
Republic of Djibouti will never accept the destructive policy
aimed at failure, which guides Mister Sharon in leading the
Palestinian conflict. He has anchored himself into a
unilateral vision, excluding completely the Palestinian
people with the firm will to install an Israeli country in
the Palestinian territory." He continued "Mister Sharon
demonstrates once again his will to simply deny the existence
of the Palestinian people. We remain convinced that, with
this arrangement, there cannot be peace in the framework
negotiated for the existence of two nations within viable

8. (U) Guelleh closed his speech by applauding the signing of
the Sudan peace accords, congratulating the United Nations
for their efforts to "help the Iraqi people in their pursuit
of peace and security," He stated: "We remain convinced that
the process of returning the leadership of their own destiny
to the hands of the Iraqi people by way of a provisional
council constitutes the wisest road for the return of peace
and security to the hearts and spirits of our Iraqi brethren,
and we will continue to support all engagements carried out
to safeguard the unity, the sovereignty of the Iraqi people
and the integrity of Iraq."

9. (U) Broad press coverage in "La Nation" newspaper was
given to President Bush's message of congratulations on the
occasion of Djibouti's national day.