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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05DJIBOUTI135
2005-02-13 14:09:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Djibouti
Cable title:  

ILLNESS AND EVACUATION OF DJIBOUTI'S MINISTER OF

Tags:   PREL  PGOV  PINR  DJ 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 DJIBOUTI 000135 

SIPDIS

STATE FOR AF, AF/E AND INR/B
PARIS/LONDON FOR AFRICA WATCHER

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/13/2015
TAGS: PREL PGOV PINR DJ
SUBJECT: ILLNESS AND EVACUATION OF DJIBOUTI'S MINISTER OF
FOREIGN AFFAIRS

REF: RAGSDALE/GAREY E-MAILS 2/10/05

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



1. (C) Djibouti's Foreign Minister Ali Abdi Farah suffered a
stroke early morning of February 9. He was rushed to
France's military hospital in Djibouti, Bouffard, where he
was treated until his evacuation the evening of February 11
to Paris. According to French Ambassador Philippe Selz,
Farah suffered a stroke which rendered him paralyzed on the
left side of his body. Selz visited Farah in the hospital,
and said that while the minister was conscious, it was not
possible to understand his speech. He also said that doctors
at Bouffard have told him that in their best estimate,
individuals in a state similar to Farah's have required a
minimum of eight weeks of rehabilitation and therapy. Post
has heard other reports that Farah regained some sensation in
his left foot and left hand, and these individuals expressed
hope that the paralysis would be temporary. Farah is known
to have had open heart surgery in the past but the heart was,
according to Selz, not affected by the cerebral attack.



2. (U) Ambassador has conveyed a get-well message to Farah
and urged (per reference) that a similar message from
Secretary Rice be sent. Ambassador's message was as follows:

SIPDIS
-
Begin text:
-
His Excellency Mr. Ali Abdi Farah
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Republic of Djibouti
-
Your Excellency:
-
I am extremely sorry to learn of your sudden illness and
hospitalization.
-
On behalf of the United States Embassy in Djibouti, and in my
name personally, I extend to you our sincere wishes for your
swift and full recovery. We so much appreciate your fine
service and liaison with all of us who are members of the
diplomatic corps and look forward to your early return to the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
-
My best regards to you.
-
Sincerely,
Marguerita D. Ragsdale
Ambassador
-
End text.
-



3. (U) Embassy has proposed the following letter from
Secretary Rice:

SIPDIS
-
Begin draft text:
-
His Excellency Mr. Ali Abdi Farah
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Republic of Djibouti
-
Your Excellency:
-
Ambassador Ragsdale has informed me of your sudden illness
and hospitalization.
-
Please know that my colleagues in the Department of State
join me in wishing you an early recovery and swift return to
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We are very proud of the
warm relationship and partnership we enjoy with the Republic
of Djibouti, on many levels, and remain appreciative of your
positive role. I look forward to meeting you personally and
working with you to advance the objectives and goals our
nations share.
-
Sincerely,
Condoleeza Rice
Secretary of State

SIPDIS
-
End draft text.



4. (C) Bio-data: Farah has long been known as a heavy
consumer of alcohol and user of khat and is a chain smoker.
He reportedly gave up smoking four months ago. Farah is 58
years of age (born February 16, 1947) and is married with
several children. In 1977, he became Deputy Secretary
General of the Administrative Training Center in Djibouti,
after receiving a diploma the same year from the Institute of
Public Administration in Lyon, France. He was subsequently
named a diplomatic advisor to the Cabinet of the President
and later moved to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where he
was head of the Administrative and Consular Affairs
Directorate. In September of 1980, he was assigned to Tunisia
as the First Secretary of the Djiboutian Embassy. In 1995,
he was named Minister of Industry and Mining by former
President Hassan Gouled Aptidon, a position he held until
Ismail Omar Guelleh was elected in 1999 and named him
Minister of Foreign Affairs. Farah is an ethnic Somali of
the Issak clan, a minority in Djibouti but a majority in
neighboring Somaliland. He has the confidence of President
Guelleh and is an integral part of Guelleh's tribal balancing
act between ministries. He played a key role in engineering
the Arta Conference for Somali Reconciliation and continues
to dominate Djibouti's Somalia/Somaliland policies. He also
organized the Conference in Djibouti on anti-personnel mines,
which brought together countries of the Horn of Africa and
the Red Sea. He has described one of the objectives of his
ministry as making the Republic of Djibouti a pole of
attraction for foreign investment. Farah is amiable and has
been well-disposed to the Embassy and close U.S.-Djibouti
relations. Farah speaks French and Somali, with very limited
competency in Arabic.



5. (C) Comment: President Guelleh reportedly visited Farah
prior to Farah's evacuation and was deeply saddened by his
condition. Besides his diplomatic function, Farah played a
major role in the President's political party and was an
advisor to Guelleh on party, parliamentary, and Somali
matters. Farah was accompanied to Paris by his wife and
other relatives. End comment.
RAGSDALE