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05DJIBOUTI1071 2005-10-26 11:17:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Djibouti
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For AF DAS Donald Yamamoto
For AF/EX Virginia Milhous
For OBO/AM Franklin White
For L/AF

E.O. 12958: N/A

1.(U) National Security Service (NSS) Director,
Hassan Said Khaireh passed to Ambassador in late
September a copy of a letter he said had been
sent to DAS Don Yamamoto by Houssein Mahmoud, an
attorney acting on behalf of several Djiboutian
clients who are owners of "Soleillet", an
unoccupied building directly across the street
from the current embassy compound. The letter
relates to the owners' desire for "compassion and
compensation" ostensibly for "losses" stemming
from what the attorney claims was a U.S. Embassy-
mandated evacuation of the building following the
terrorist attacks against the U.S. in September


2. (U) Ambassador advised Hassan Said that the
Embassy in Djibouti had no information at all on
the circumstances of the evacuation of the
building in question. She told the NSS Director
that it would appear, however, that any exercise
of the type described would had to have been a
Government of Djibouti decision and undertaking,
and not within the purview of the U.S. Embassy.
Hassan Said disagreed, stating that while the
evacuation was carried out by Government of
Djibouti authorities, it was done so at U.S.
insistence and direction.

3. (U) We are providing for AF, OBO and L the text
of the letter from the attorney for the building
owners, as passed to us by Hassan Said. There
is the possibility that the owners will elevate
this matter to the local courts, but this is
unclear at the moment. Post would appreciate
guidance from the Department on how to respond,
if the Department wishes to respond at all.

4. (U) Begin text of letter:

M. Houssein Mahamoud
KAMAJ, Agence Immobiliere
Tel: (253) 35-40-91
Fax: (253) 35-40-92

June 8, 2005

Deputy Assistant Secretary
Bureau of African Affairs
U.S. State Department
Washington, DC
Fax: 00-1-202-637-6301

Subject: Appeal for compassion and compensation

Your Excellency,

I would like to take this opportunity to kindly
request your assistance in resolving the compensation
issue of the owners of the building known as Soleillet
located across the street from U.S. Embassy compound
in Djibouti.

As you recall, the Soleillet building was evacuated
from its occupants and the main road leading to the
Embassy blocked by the National Security Services in
October 2001, right after the criminal attacks on the
World Trade Center, to strengthen the safety and
security of the U.S. Mission in Djibouti.

As you know, the Soleillet building juts out over the
Embassy compound and anyone standing almost anywhere
in the Embassy was vulnerable to an attack launched
from Soleillet. The evacuation of the building helped
enhance the overall security measures, significantly
reduced surveillance activities and prevented
potential terrorist attacks.

These security measures were taken during your tenure
as Ambassador in Djibouti to bolster the security
posture and provide safe and secure environment to the
Mission with the understanding and implicit accord
that the U.S. Government will compensate the owners of
the building.

I have been trusted by all owners to try to facilitate
the resolution of this issue and I would like to share
with you the need for compassion and compensation for
those who have been dispossessed from their

On September 14, 2004, I met the U.S. Ambassador, HE
Madame Ambassador Marguerita Ragsdale, to discuss
avenues to find an adequate solution to settle the
issue. Following that meeting and upon the Ambassador
request, we submitted to the Ambassador a document
detailing the value of the building with the hope that
the U.S. Government will put to rest this issue. We
express our deepest gratitude to HE Madame Ambassador
Marguerita Ragsdale for her outstanding effort to
advance the resolution of this issue.

The owners of the building understood the need to
evacuate their properties, they packed their
belongings on a very short notice in solidarity with
the American people during a time of a major crisis
and heightened threat against U.S. interests and all
peace and freedom loving people. After 3 years and 7
months most of the property owners are still too
humble to complain but they can't understand the lack
of compensation for the loss of their homes. Few of
them contemplate filing a lawsuit against the
Government of Djibouti but they believe that the U.S.
Government is morally responsible for their

The lack of compensation threw the owners of Soleillet
building into disarray. The decision to confiscate
their properties cracked the very foundation of their
economy (lost revenues from rents) and crushed the
small community that lived there for decades. Most of
them are in a desperate state of mind. They feel
humiliated and concerned about their future. During
the recent presidential election, some voted to
"punish" the government they feel has failed them
(that has taken away their homes without proper
compensation). Many are voicing their disappointment
vis-a-vis the U.S. Government without questioning
their support of the war on terror in which their
country is proudly playing a major role.

Please allow me to submit to you two proposals that
have been put forward by the property owners:

- The first solution: the U.S. Government rents the
building for 34 320 000 Djibouti Francs or $US 193 898
per year.
- The second solution: the U.S. Government purchase
the building for the amount of 255 698 978 Djibouti
Francs or $US 1 444 626.

With either solution, property owners claim the
payment of rents accumulated over the period from
October 2001 to May 2005 and thereafter until a final
solution is agreed upon (U.S.Government purchases the
building, the U.S. Embassy moves to the new Haramous
site, ownership of the building is returned to owners,

Unpaid accumulated rents are estimated to:

Average rent per apartment of 130 000 FDJ x 22
apartments: 2 860 000 FDJ x 12: 34 320 000 FDJ yearly

3 years and 7 months rents: 122 980 000 FDJ or $US 694

We would like to ask you, with all due respect and
fond memories of your tenure as U.S. Ambassador to
Djibouti to help us settle this issue by providing to
Soleillet property owners an adequate compensation for
the loss of their homes.

Please find attached a document detailing soleillet
real estate status.

With our utmost respect,