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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
04DJIBOUTI934 2004-07-07 15:22:00 SECRET Embassy Djibouti
Cable title:  

PORTENTS IN DJIBOUTI BASE LEASE NEGOTIATIONS

Tags:   PREL PGOV MARR MOPS DJ 
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					S E C R E T DJIBOUTI 000934 

SIPDIS

STATE FOR AF

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/07/2014
TAGS: PREL PGOV MARR MOPS DJ
SUBJECT: PORTENTS IN DJIBOUTI BASE LEASE NEGOTIATIONS

REF: DJIBOUTI 903

Classified By: AMBASSADOR MARGUERITA D. RAGSDALE.
REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D).



1. (S) During the July 6 meeting of the U.S.-Djibouti
Military Coordinating Committee, Abdurahman Boreh, Special
Economic Advisor to President Ismail Omar Guelleh, told USLO
Chief that the Government of Djibouti would like to construct
a new international airport. He said an American consulting
firm was already under contract to do a preliminary study and
to produce a master plan. This future airport, he continued,
would benefit U.S. military forces. Essentially, the new
airport would allow Djibouti to turn over its current
international airport exclusively for military use.
American, French, and Djiboutian military personnel would
have complete control of the premises to enforce security and
develop a runway that could meet all the services' needs.
When USLO Chief pressed on financing possibilities for a new
international airport, Boreh admitted that financing was
currently lacking. However, he offered the view that Shaykh
Mohamed (bin Rashid?) of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates,
owner of Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC) and Dubai Ports
International (DPI), would finance a new passenger terminal
if the Government of Djibouti could finance the new airport's
runways, ramps and control tower.



2. (S) Intriguingly, Boreh stated that he hoped this time the
U.S. military would "plan ahead" and "think seriously" about
the opportunity that was before it, instead of making the
same mistake that was made in 2002 when U.S. forces were
offered Camp Lemonier, and all the land east to the sea, and
turned it down. USLO explained to Boreh that no element of
the Department of Defense could pay for or assist in the
development of a civilian airport. Boreh smiled and said he
was sure that some arrangement could be made during the
upcoming negotiations for Camp Lemonier.



3. (S) By decree of President Guelleh, the U.S.-Djibouti
military coordinating committee was established in October,
2003 to coordinate and facilitate U.S. military assistance to
Djibouti. The committee consists of, besides Boreh, Major
Patrick Anderson, Embassy Djibouti's USLO Chief, Mohamed Ali
Hassan, Director of Bilateral Relations in the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs, Lt.Col. Abdurahman Dembil, Presidential
Defense Advisor, and Col. Osman Soubagleh, Director of
International Relations, Djiboutian Army Headquarters. The
committee meets weekly to discuss the status of security
assistance programs and military issues in general. During
the July 6 meeting, all members of the committee expressed
the desire that a new access agreement between Djibouti and
the United States for use of Camp Lemonier be comprehensive
and cover all future U.S. requirements for security,
logistical support and training.



4. (S) In other business at the July 6 meeting, Boreh sought
USLO Chief's assistance in determining if the U.S. Navy had
any concerns, or any additional requirements, following the
June 30 tour by Captain Kurt Kunkel, N-4 of the Fifth Fleet,
of the Port of Doraleh's construction site. During Capt.
Kunkel's visit to the port, the length of the berth became a
topic of discussion. The current Doraleh port project design
calls for a berth of 210 meters with dolphin anchor points
extending to 324 meters. Boreh asked USLO Chief if these
dimensions would be sufficient to meet anticipated use of the
berth by the U.S. Navy. (Note: Ambassador had requested the
visit of a NAVCENT representative to Djibouti to tour the
Doraleh site after she learned from Exxon-Mobil Corporation
that the U.S. Navy had contracted, under DESC auspices, to
lease four container storage tanks from ENOC for future fuel
storage at Doraleh. End Note).



5. (S) Comment: Boreh's statement that Djibouti planned to
build a new airport confirmed an earlier discussion
Ambassador had with the Doraleh port site manager, K.K. Menon
(strictly protect) on June 30. The informal "proposal" that
the existing airport could be turned over for combined
military use, if a new airport is built, was conveyed to USLO
only days after post delivered its diplomatic note to
Djibouti's Foreign Ministry informing the Government of the
U.S.'s desire to re-negotiate agreements related to Camp
Lemonier. Post believes that the Government of Djibouti may
see base negotiations as a vehicle to help finance a new
international airport in Djibouti. It will likely argue that,
while costly, a new airport would be in the best short and
long-term interests of the U.S. End comment.
RAGSDALE