wikileaks ico  Home papers ico  Cables mirror and Afghan War Diary privacy policy Privacy
Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05GENEVA1052
2005-04-26 03:16:00
CONFIDENTIAL
US Mission Geneva
Cable title:  

UNHCR ON WESTERN SAHARA, LIBYA, AND MOROCCO

Tags:   PGOV  PHUM  PREF  PREL  SMIG  XI  UNHCR 
pdf how-to read a cable
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 GENEVA 001052 

SIPDIS

PRM FOR AFR AND MCE; ROME FOR FODAG; CAIRO FOR REFCOORD

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/25/2010
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREF PREL SMIG XI UNHCR
SUBJECT: UNHCR ON WESTERN SAHARA, LIBYA, AND MOROCCO

REF: A. A) STATE 72108

B. B) STATE 73908

C. C) TRIPOLI 094

Classified By: RMA Counselor Piper Campbell, for reasons 1.4 B and D

C O N F I D E N T I A L GENEVA 001052

SIPDIS

PRM FOR AFR AND MCE; ROME FOR FODAG; CAIRO FOR REFCOORD

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/25/2010
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREF PREL SMIG XI UNHCR
SUBJECT: UNHCR ON WESTERN SAHARA, LIBYA, AND MOROCCO

REF: A. A) STATE 72108

B. B) STATE 73908

C. C) TRIPOLI 094

Classified By: RMA Counselor Piper Campbell, for reasons 1.4 B and D


1. (C) Summary: In response to refs A and B, Mission
Geneva's Joe Cassidy and Anne Phillips met with officials
from the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees
(UNHCR) April 25 to brief on demarches directed to Algiers
and Tripoli on refugee issues. UNHCR's Deputy Director in
charge of North Africa Radhouane Nouicer and Head of Desk
Ruvendrini Menikdiwela said our demarche on the need for a
census of the Saharawi refugee camps is consistent with UNHCR
policy, but would be seen as politically provocative in
Algiers and Tindouf. Nouicer cautioned the EU seems to be
retreating from its former insistence on re-verification of
refugee numbers. Both expressed appreciation for our
demarche to the Libyan government (ref C) calling for greater
UNHCR access to asylum seekers. UNHCR officials are still
negotiating with the Moroccan government on the appointment
of a UNHCR head of office and could request American
diplomatic support should they be unable to conclude an
agreement. End Summary


2. (C) WESTERN SAHARA: Although UNHCR delivered similar
points to the Algerian government in writing last week,
Nouicer thinks a US demarche to Algiers on the need for a
Saharawi camp census -- which would "focus attention on the
most political of peace process issues" -- might be poorly
received right now. Noting recent reports of cross-border
movement of armed men and construction on the Moroccan side
of the berm, Nouicer said Algerian and Saharawi authorities
would be especially sensitive now to any proposal likely to
undercut their refugee population claims. He also cautioned
that, because of internal disagreements, the EU now appears
less likely to aggressively push for a comprehensive census,
potentially isolating the U.S. Nouicer said that, without a
new census, UNHCR would continue to facilitate food
distribution based on the old refugee numbers and implemented
by the Saharawi Red Crescent. (Note: Because the Saharawi
Red Crescent is not a recognized national society of the
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent
Societies, UNHCR's implementation agreement is signed by the
Algerian Red Crescent.)


3. (C) LIBYA: Nouicer and Menikdiwela welcomed the U.S.
demarche calling on Libyan authorities to grant UNHCR greater
access to asylum seekers. They are cautiously optimistic
that U.S. pressure can be useful. Libya and other North
African states continue to exclude UNHCR from a formal role
in refugee processing and migration management. Nouicer said
UNHCR officials are trying to enter negotiations "through the
window," by among other things assigning protection officers
to conduct training and examine local conditions. UNHCR
representatives continue to make clear to North African and
European governments that UNHCR does not condone current
arrangements for migrant return to Libya. Assistant High
Commissioner Kamel Morjane told Mission officers separately
that he and former High Commissioner Lubbers have raised
these issues with the Libyan Ambassador in Geneva. While
Morjane judged that she was "sympathetic," he did not believe
she had any ability to drive change back in Tripoli.


5. (C) MOROCCO: Nouicer noted that UNHCR faces problems in
Morocco similar to its difficulties in Libya. UNHCR still
has not named a new head of office in Rabat, since the
Moroccan government has so far refused to nominate more than
one person. (Nouicer joked that UNHCR at least needs the
appearance that it appoints its own representative.) He did
not rule out the possibility of authorizing an expatriate
Head of Delegation if the situation worsens, but is not ready
to do so now, since he believes it would seriously damage
relations with Moroccan authorities. In the meantime, UNHCR
has deployed a mid-level Protection Officer to Rabat until
December. A Moroccan delegation will come to Geneva next
week for further discussions. A Belgian Ministry of Interior
delegation is traveling to Rabat the same week and will press
the Moroccans to relent on the UNHCR staffing issue. Nouicer
said UNHCR does not need additional outside help at this time.
Moley