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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05ADDISABABA3984
2005-11-30 13:08:00
SECRET
Embassy Addis Ababa
Cable title:  

ETHIOPIA: PM MELES WELCOMES USG ENGAGEMENT ON

Tags:   PREL  KPKO  MARR  ET  ER  SO  SOMALIA 
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						S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 ADDIS ABABA 003984 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/30/2015
TAGS: PREL KPKO MARR ET ER SO SOMALIA
SUBJECT: ETHIOPIA: PM MELES WELCOMES USG ENGAGEMENT ON
SOMALIA, CALLS IT GREATEST LONG-TERM SECURITY THREAT


Classified By: DAS Don Yamamoto for reasons 1.4 (b,d)



1. (C) Summary: PM Meles told visiting DAS Don Yamamoto Nov.
29 that Ethiopia welcomed increased USG engagement on
Somalia. He called the rise of extremism in Somalia the
greatest long-term security threat to the region, but said
there was still time to address it before the danger
increased. Meles said Ethiopia no longer favored the use of
foreign peacekeeping troops; Somalia's Transitional Federal
Government (TFG) should over time be able to handle its own
security. The TFG would need outside resources, however, to
establish itself and begin governing. End Summary.



2. (C) AF DAS Don Yamamoto met Prime Minister Meles Zenawi
Nov. 29, accompanied by Charge Vicki Huddleston and PolEcon
Counselor. MFA Director for European and American Affairs
Grum Abay and a notetaker joined Meles. Septel will cover
discussion on the Eritrean border situation and the internal
political situation.



--------------------------



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Yamamoto: USG Will Increase Engagement on Somalia and
Somaliland


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--------------------------





3. (S) DAS Yamamoto told PM Meles that the USG was looking
for ways of promoting engagement in Somalia. Coordinating
efforts with regional allies like Ethiopia was essential to
understanding the Somalia issue. He noted that Ethiopia was
the only regional state that bordered both Somalia and
Somaliland. Yamamoto conveyed USG appreciation for the
successful intelligence-sharing program between the U.S. and
Ethiopia on Somalia. He recalled that the USG had initiated
contact from Washington-based officials for the first time
with the TFG at the UNGA in September, meeting Prime Minister
Yusuf for the first time. The U.S. told Yusuf that if he
built bridges to the TFG Speaker of Parliament and other
warlords, the U.S. would engage him at a higher level.



--------------------------



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GOE Supports Greater USG Role, Understands Limitations


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--------------------------





4. (C) PM Meles called a more active U.S. approach "a relief
for us." He said Somalia was the greatest long-run security
threat for Ethiopia and the region, but there was a window
now to act in order to reduce the risk posed by extremism
based in Mogadishu. He said that for the moment, Somalia
ports were the focal points for organized crime and links
with Al Qaeda; dangerous elements had not yet made
significant inroads inland toward Ethiopia. The PM said he
understood that the U.S. could not give the same level of
attention to Somalia as to other threats in the region, but
that seeing the situation clearly was also important. If the
U.S. were not on board, efforts to stabilize Somalia would
fail. The TFG's Prime Minister had told Meles that he was
hearing "positive signals" from the U.S. The EU was also
sending such signals. Meles indicated that Ethiopia had
"recoiled a bit" from involvement with its southern neighbor,
but would like to be more proactive in stabilizing the
situation.



5. (C) When Yamamoto mentioned continuing U.S. reluctance
about introducing foreign peacekeeping troops in Somalia, the
PM responded that Ethiopia no longer saw such troops as
important to stabilizing the TFG. The important thing was
for the U.S. and international community to give the TFG the
"green light" to start operating against Islamic extremist
groups. The TFG should over time develop the capacity to
provide for its own security. Winning over the bulk of the
population of Mogadishu would be important to achieve that
goal, Meles said, and additional resources for the TFG could
help with that.



--------------------------



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Somaliland: Partner for Stability -- and Prosperity


--------------------------



--------------------------





6. (C) Meles told Yamamoto that Somaliland had resources that
would allow the country to take care of itself. The GOE had
been working with hydrocarbons experts to prospect in its own
territory, but had been told that the real finds were located
in Somaliland. Contractors had approached the GOE about
participating in the construction of a gas pipeline from
Somaliland to Ethiopia, but there was still too much
political uncertainty to proceed with the project for now.
Nevertheless, Ethiopia would engage with Somaliland in order
to stabilize the north part of Somali territory and then try
to stabilize as much as possible of the south. At a minimum,
such a strategy would "quarantine" problems in a more limited
area. Amb. Yamamoto agreed that engaging with Somalia should
be both a counter-terrorism and a development issue. He
underscored concerns in the U.S. about Somali pirates'
attacks on international shipping. Meles also noted that
South Africa jad visited Hargese and showed interest in
Somaliland issues. U.S. interest would complement South
African efforts.
HUDDLESTON