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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
05DJIBOUTI1000 2005-10-05 13:48:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Djibouti
Cable title:  

CLARIFICATION FROM FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTER ON

Tags:   PREL ETRD EAGR ECON EAID DJ 
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					C O N F I D E N T I A L DJIBOUTI 001000 

SIPDIS

STATE FOR AF AND AF/E
STATE ALSO PASS USAID
NAIROBI FOR REDSO DIRECTOR ANDY SISSON

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/07/2015
TAGS: PREL ETRD EAGR ECON EAID DJ
SUBJECT: CLARIFICATION FROM FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTER ON
LIVESTOCK PROJECT COORDINATION

REF: DJIBOUTI 989

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



1. (C) An apparent internal Djiboutian government turf battle
over control of coordination of the USAID-sponsored Livestock
Project in Djibouti prompted Ambassador's urgent request
October 6 for a meeting with Minister of Foreign Affairs
Mahmoud Ali Youssouf. The Ambassador sought the Minister's
clarification of the matter following several incidents that,
if allowed to continue, might negatively impact the project's
continued forward movement. Ambassador was accompanied in the
meeting by USAID Representative in Djibouti, Janet Schulman.



2. (C) Ambassador began by expressing to the Minister her
concern about a lack of clarity regarding who or what entity
was Embassy's primary interlocutor on the project. The
absence of clarity could impact negatively the ability of the
project to move forward in a timely manner. She told the
Minister that she had previously alluded to problems in this
arena during their September 29 meeting on another matter.
(see reftel), At that time, the Minister had rightly noted
that other ministries would be involved in the project
gradually, as it becomes necessary. However, it appears that
we are now facing a situation in which multiple ministries
are demanding involvement to the absolute exclusion of other
entities. This demand is placing the Embassy in the middle
of an apparent turf battle that we would prefer to stay clear
of. The Ambassador said that the difficulties posed by these
circumstances came to light during a USAID TDY visit on
October 5, when the visitors lost valuable time meeting with
parties who claimed--in competition with another party -- to
be responsible for the project. Ambassador continued that
USAID Representative would further elaborate and that our
request is for his (the Minister's) assistance in clarifying
and resolving this matter.



3. (C) USAID Representative explained that her TDY visitors
were alerted at their hotel the evening of their arrival that
a previously scheduled meeting with the Chamber of Commerce
President and his team (given responsibility for the project
by presidential decree) would now be held at the Ministry of
Agriculture with both the Ministers of Agriculture and
Commerce. As instructed, the team went to the Ministry of
Agriculture, spent two hours in meetings there, and later
learned that the Chamber of Commerce President and his team
had been waiting for two hours for the visitors to show up
there for the meeting. Moreover, the Minister of Agriculture
had advised the USAID visitors that he is the designated
Government of Djibouti representative for the project and
that he has to sign all invoices for the project. The Chamber
of Commerce President was furious over Agriculture's
interception of the visitors, saying he had exclusive
responsibility under presidential decree for the project's
coordination and that the Ministers of Agriculture and
Commerce do not. The result of this confusion, Schulman
continued, was that her visitors lost valuable time and the
issues that needed to be discussed had not been discussed.
She urged an early clarification from the Government of
Djibouti as to who is the point of contact for USAID in this
project.



4. (C) The Minister began by expressing his apologies to
Ambassador and USAID Representative for the confusion that
has resulted. He said he had had the opportunity to speak
with the Minister of Agriculture, after learning about what
had happened the previous day. He reassured that President
Guelleh had signed a decree placing Said Omar, President of
the Chamber of Commerce, in charge of coordination of this
project. He said that while it is true that the Minister of
Agriculture wants oversight, perhaps because he is a very
"speedy" person and believes he can make the project move
more speedily, Said Omar remains in charge unless and until
there is another presidential decree which states to the
contrary. He urged the Embassy to decline any requests for
future meetings on these subject with others and to continue
to work through the President of the Chamber of Commerce.
Continuing, Youssouf said other Ministers will have their
opportunity to be engaged once the project is further along.

5.(C) Comment: The Minister of Agriculture may yet have his
way, given his close ties to the presidency. Until then,
however, Embassy will proceed as guided by Youssouf. For
now, we are treating the turf battle as more of a nuisance to
be managed gingerly than a real hindrance to the project's
completion. The project is proceeding and we still expect to
have a herd of livestock ready for export to the Arabian
Peninsula in time for the coming Hajj. End comment.
RAGSDALE