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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
05DJIBOUTI1057 2005-10-23 11:55:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Djibouti
Cable title:  

INTERIM MEETING WITH GENERALS FATHI AND ZAKARIA ON

Tags:   PREL MASS MARR MOPS MCAP DJ 
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					C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 DJIBOUTI 001057 

SIPDIS

DEFENSE FOR ISA AFRICA
DEFENSE ALSO PASS DSCA SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA DIRECTOR
STATE FOR AF, AF/E, AF/RA, AND PM
PARIS/LONDON FOR AFRICA WATCHER

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/20/2015
TAGS: PREL MASS MARR MOPS MCAP DJ
SUBJECT: INTERIM MEETING WITH GENERALS FATHI AND ZAKARIA ON
FMF CONCERNS

REF: A. DJIBOUTI 1017

B. 04 DJIBOUTI 985

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



1. (C) Ambassador, accompanied by USLO Chief, met October 17
at Djiboutian Military Headquarters with Chief of Djiboutian
Military Forces, General Fathi Ahmed Houssein and his Deputy,
General Zakaria Cheick Ibrahim. The meeting was requested by
Ambassador to acknowledge receipt of General Zakaria's letter
of October 10 (reported reftel A), to further gauge the
Djiboutian military leadership's views on FMF as expressed in
the October 10 letter and to provide interim assurances of a
timely reply. General Fathi and General Zakaria were joined
in the meeting by Col. Osman Soubaghleh, Director of
International Relations, Djiboutian Armed Forces.



2. (C) Ambassador initiated the discussion by acknowledging
receipt of Zakaria's letter as well as the concerns Fathi
expressed previously about the pace of delivery of FMF to
Djibouti (Reftel B). She told Fathi she had passed the letter
to Washington and could reassure that Washington was seized
of the matter and would have a formal reply just after the
24th of October. The delay, she added, was due to the
absence in Europe at a EUCOM conference of many of the
appropriate respondents.



3. (C) General Fathi thanked the Ambassador for her visit.
With considerable animation, he spoke about Djibouti's
security needs and the link between FMF and those needs. He
reiterated that FMF is important for Djibouti's security and
that everything Djibouti is asking of the Americans is for
that security. He said he understands the procedural
difficulties in moving FMF projects along, yet there are
items under the program for which timely delivery to
recipient countries is essential. For example, he said, the
engineering equipment Djibouti requested could have been
received two years later and Djibouti was prepared to wait
for it. By contrast patrol boats are extremely necessary for
security of Djibouti's coasts and that he and the President
of Djibouti counted on these boats as part of the
government's package to ensure coastal security of the
country.



4. (C) There have been other undelivered promises, the
General continued. Three years ago the U.S. promised a
security project under "Image Nautilus" that would involve
cooperation among Djiboutian, French, and U.S. military
personnel. The project included construction of a border
outpost and hardened access road. After this extended period
of time, and four U.S. military delegations later, Djibouti
has yet, according to Fathi, to see implementation of this
project. He added that Djibouti faced real vulnerabilities
linked to Al-Qaida's decision to install itself in
Somaliland. He expressed the belief that Al-Qaida would not
cease looking for these vulnerabilities.



5. (C) Continuing, the General cited the port rehabilitation
project at Obock as another example. He insisted that
nothing has been done on this project despite promises, and
the inactivity had led to a "loss of confidence" on
Djibouti's part. He told the Ambassador and USLO Chief that
he is reluctant to raise FMF any longer with President
Guelleh because in case after case with links to FMF on which
he has reported to the president, he (Fathi) has simply been
unable to deliver. Fathi added that Djibouti had willingly
accepted to be in the coalition fighting the global war on
terrorism, yet said he feels deeply that Djibouti's friends
are not sensitive to the dangers his country faces.



6. (C) Comment: Despite Ambassador's assurances that the
U.S. has interests in Djibouti's security and is working hard
to process all outstanding FMF requests, General Fathi gave
no indication that he believes we will deliver at a more
rapid pace. His disenchantment and impatience was
unmistakable. It is not clear what pressure upon Fathi is
driving the chariot, other than saving face with Guelleh. It
may be genuine disquiet about security against terrorist acts
from outside. We again reiterate the importance of a timely
reply to Reftel A, perhaps with text that could easily be
transposed into a letter from Ambassador addressing the
issues Fathi has raised. End comment.
RAGSDALE