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05DJIBOUTI200 2005-02-28 12:49:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Djibouti
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					C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 DJIBOUTI 000200 



E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/28/2015

Classified By: Ambassador Marguerita D. Ragsdale.
For reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

1. (C) Summary: Ambassador met with Acting Foreign Minister,
Mahamoud Ali Youssouf, at her request February 23 to discuss
several issues, among them the effect of the Borrel Affair on
France-Djibouti relations. Youssouf called the affair
embarrassing for both sides. He said it is not Djibouti's
desire to see the situation escalate, but it is now a matter
of principle as France's government could do much more than
it currently is doing to tamp down tensions. Youssouf said
the French judges need to either prove the allegations raised
or close the case. End Summary.

2. (C) Youssouf described the Borrel case as a completely
French issue. He continued that from the beginning of the
affair everything had involved French authorities. The
discovery of Borrel's body was by French military, the
autopsy by French doctors, the judicial inquiry by French
judges and the conclusion of suicide by French courts.
Youssouf said it was only after two persons then in Brussels
came forward with overheard conversations allegedly
implicating Djiboutian authorities that Borrel's widow
started to say that there were confidential files at French
intelligence confirming the same.

3. (C) Youssouf said the Government of Djibouti requested in
August 2003 that the supposed intelligence files be
declassified. The French authorities did and nothing in the
documents pointed to Djiboutian authorities being involved in
the death of Judge Borrel. Youssouf said it was afterwards
that the judges' syndicate in France started putting pressure
on the government to take a different stance. According to
Youssouf, the French government had been taken hostage by the
French judiciary. Because the file cannot be closed, it has
become a political issue for both countries. He added his
belief that if the courts had evidence implicating Djiboutian
authorities, it would have already brought that evidence

4. (C) Regarding the reasons behind the Government of
Djibouti's recent expulsions of six French Cooperation
employees, Youssouf explained that Djibouti does not think
the French government is complicit in widow Borrel's
pressure, but it is also not doing anything to prevent
damaging slander against Djibouti and Djibouti's President.
He continued that Radio France International (RFI) is French
government owned and as such, can be controlled by France.
Yet it had continued to broadcast slanderous statements on
purpose. He said Djibouti had told the French to stop, but
they didn't. Youssouf also said Djibouti objected to the
summons of Djiboutian officials to appear in a French court
to testify in the Borrel case. He added that when Djibouti
had protested that the two accusers who had made false
accusations against the President of Djibouti were only doing
so in order to keep refugee status and asked that they be
tried in France, the French refused to cooperate. Youssouf
said Djibouti's response to the request of the French courts
is "if we help you, you have to help us." He said Djibouti
has to deal with its accusers through the French and cannot
accept the excuse that separation of powers prevents France
from stopping harassment.

5. (C) Youssouf said Djibouti's position is that since the
entire investigative process in the Borrel affair had been
handled by the French, why implicate Djibouti now? He added
that rumors indicated that Borrel worked for French
intelligence and that the declassified documents indicated
Borrel was dirty. Youssouf said the Borrel affair is a 100
percent French problem, but it happened in Djibouti. Youssouf
noted that Djibouti has hundreds of French assistants in the
various ministries with access to sensitive information. Why
would Djibouti kill one assistant and allow the others to

6. (C) Regarding rumors that more French workers might be
asked to leave, Youssouf stated pointedly that "it depended
on the developments in the affair." He said if the French
government takes its responsibility, Djibouti will not be
forced to act against it. He continued that Djibouti is
asking France to put forward additional information, if any,
or close the file. Youssouf commented that the French
Ambassador to Djibouti was very clear that France is as much
embarrassed as Djibouti, but it was not in a position to
pressure the judicial system. Youssouf said that he responded
that France needed to pressure the media, not the judiciary.
In Youssouf's view, the case should be closed since ten years
had passed since Borrel's death and there is no proof of
murder. In order to keep the case open, he said, murder must
be proved, a motive for murder found, and the perpetrator
determined. Youssouf repeated "it is not in our interest to
escalate the issue, but it is a matter of principle - prove
it or close it."