|05DJIBOUTI121||2005-02-07 11:37:00||CONFIDENTIAL||Embassy Djibouti|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
1. (SBU) Summary: The self-proclaimed independent state of
Somaliland enjoys a close relationship with the Republic of
Djibouti due to strong familial ties of their populations and
frequent business traffic between the two capitals. While
there have been ups and downs, including Djibouti's adherence
to the African Union position on the integrity of Somalia,
relations have always been calm on the surface. In the past
year, the relationship between Djibouti and Somaliland seems
to have grown closer. Actions such as the establishment of a
Somaliland representation office in Djibouti, and fairly
frequent visits from Somaliland ministers, are some
indicators of this new level in the relationship. More
concrete evidence can be seen in the results of a recent
Somaliland ministerial visit to Djibouti 8-13 January. This
was followed by a visit from the President of Somaliland on
27 January, while on his way to South Africa. The ministerial
meeting, heavily covered by the Somaliland press --but not by
Djiboutian media-- ended with the signing of a 14-point
agreement to formally establish cooperation on various
economic and security related issues. End Summary.
2. (U) From information Post has been able to glean from
Djiboutian contacts, ministerial meetings in Djibouti between
the Somaliland Ministers of Interior, Finance, Communication,
Federated Regions, and Air Transport and their Djiboutian
counterparts January 8-13 yeilded a formal agreement for
economic and security cooperation. The agreement, which
addressed subjects such as smuggling, maritime security,
fishing rights and increased trade, was signed by the
Somaliland Minister of the Interior, and the Djiboutian
Minister of Foreign Affairs. The January 8-13 visit also
included meetings between the mayors of Hargeisa and
Djibouti. Somaliland's President, Daher Rayaleh Kahin, paid a
courtesy visit to President Ismail Omar Guelleh on 27
January, while passing through Djibouti on the way to South
Africa. This short visit, according to Embassy sources, also
led to a more informal agreement between the two governments
intelligence agencies to work together more closely.
3. (U) The 14-point agreement, which was highlighted in press
reports on the ministerial visit, allows for greater
cooperation between the two countries in key economic and
security areas. The fourteen points are as follows:
1) All previous agreements signed between the two parties are
2) Trade between the two parties is to be fortified.
3) Strengthen cooperation in the fight against smuggling.
4) Strengthen cooperation in the fight against land and
5) Establish cooperation on maritime borders to improve
prevention of unlawful fishing, sea water pollution, and
6) Establish cooperation in health, especially in the areas
of HIV/AIDS and Malaria.
7) Establish cooperation in intelligence and security.
8) Establish cooperation to rebuild roads between the
Djiboutian border town of Loyada and the Somaliland border
town of Sayla'. (Note: Djibouti has agreed to pay the
expenses of the road project. End Note.)
9) Establish a joint technical commission to work under the
authority of the Somaliland-Djibouti Ministerial Committee.
The Technical Committee will meet every four months, while
the Ministerial Committee will meet every six months.
10) The joint commission will meet alternating between both
capitals, Djibouti and Hargeisa.
11) Somaliland citizens will be allowed into Djiboutian
territory using Somaliland passports.
12) Establish cooperation in the fields of transportation,
information, politics, development, and traditional arts.
13) The technical commission will follow the execution of the
present agreement, reviewing each stage to monitor whether
both sides adhere to the text of the agreement.
14) The Ministers of Interior will act as the leaders of this
4. (U) In a statement to members of the Somaliland
parliament, seen by Embassy's Pol Assistant FSN in Somaliland
press coverage, the Minister of Interior reportedly said that
the main issue Djibouti is concerned about is smuggling.
Djibouti requested Somaliland's assistance in combating the
trafficking of illegal merchandise and drugs across the
Somaliland/Djibouti border. Somaliland officials did not
confirm or deny the existence of smuggling in their comments
to the press. Another major concern of Djibouti's is maritime
security. During the discussions, Djibouti and Somaliland
reportedly agreed to a joint patrol from Djibouti City to
Berbera. Somaliland also agreed to assist in preventing
illegal fishing boats from fishing in both government's
territorial waters, as well as preventing dumping of nuclear
and other wastes.
5. (C) According to Somaliland press, the Minister of
Interior characterized Djibouti as "more relaxed" on its
position of non-recognition of Somaliland. He also noted that
Somaliland asked Djibouti to back requests for recognition to
the international community, and asked for Djibouti's
recognition of Somaliland independence. The minister is
quoted, in the Somaliland newspaper "Haatuf," as saying "When
receiving us, Ismail Omar Guelleh told us the Great Somalia
didn't work. If Somaliland is descending into hell, we're
with you. If Somaliland is ascending to paradise, we're with
you." (Note: This is a very rough, literal translation of the
Somali text of the article. A more general interpretation of
Guelleh's statement would be that whatever the circumstances,
Djibouti will stand by Somaliland. Post cannot yet confirm if
this is a true change in Djibouti's position or a move to
curry favor with the Somaliland public. End Note.)
6. (C) Embassy has been told that discussions did not include
livestock issues or moving the Somaliland village of Loyada
20 km farther from the border, as was printed in the
Somaliland press coverage of the ministerial meeting. Some
believe that perhaps an agreement regarding livestock export
issues was reached, but it has not been publicized due to the
negative nature of Somaliland public opinion regarding this
issue. Somaliland public opinion is reportedly heavily
against Djibouti creating a livestock export facility because
it is one of many perceived "betrayals" by Djibouti.
Livestock export is the greatest revenue generator for
Somaliland. Other points of resentment include Djibouti's
efforts to expedite the Somalia peace process and its refusal
to acknowledge Somaliland independence. Some accuse Djibouti
of trying to "suffocate" Somaliland politically and
economically because of these actions.
7. (C) Comment: Djibouti has increased its aid/good will
gestures towards Somaliland in the past few months, including
donations of generators, funds, and an office and residence
for the Somaliland representation. The two governments also
appear to be showing political will to re-approach each other
with more open minds. According to a Somaliland press story
several months ago, President Daher Rayaleh Kahin asked the
press corp "not to criticize Djibouti and its president," and
said "Djibouti does not have a magic wand to grant us
recognition." Post does not believe that this move towards
closer relations with Somaliland indicates that Djibouti
will, at any time in the near future, adopt a policy of
recognition towards their neighbor. There remains no
fundamental shift in Djibouti's policy on recognition and it
continues to adhere to the African Union position. End