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05NAIROBI5171 2005-12-19 09:35:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Nairobi
Cable title:  

Transport Ministry Seeks Cooperation on Somalia

Tags:   EWWT EAIR PTER PGOV MASS KE 
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1. (SBU) Summary: Kenya Transport Ministry Permanent
Secretary Ikiara told the DCM December 7 that Kenya seeks

SIPDIS
an international response to piracy off the Somali coast,
and may call a meeting of concerned nations to coordinate.
Ikiara will chair an interagency meeting next week to
determine any technical issues related to our recent
request to close the Embassy's airspace as a means to
minimize the risk of aerial attack. He warned that
conditioning continued assistance under the Safe Skies
program on an Article 98 agreement could result in more
resentment toward the U.S. Ikiara welcomed our coastal and
port security assistance, but asked for equipment to screen
passengers and vehicles on ferries. End summary.



2. (U) DCM, Naval Attache and Econoff met with Ministry of
Transport Permanent Secretary (PS) Gerrishon Ikiara, and
officials from the Kenya Maritime Authority, Kenya Port
Authority, the MFA, and the Transport Ministry to discuss
Somalia coast piracy, Embassy airspace security, port and
coastal security, and the Safe Skies for Africa (SSFA)
program.

Somalia Piracy: Kenya Will Seek International Support


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3. (SBU) Ikiara said Somalia coast piracy is a major
concern for the GOK. He welcomed the unanimous support for
the IMO resolution. Now that his staff have returned from
the IMO meeting in London, GOK agencies will decide how to
best obtain maximum international cooperation and support
for addressing the problem. Ikiara claimed that focusing
international attention had already caused the Somali
warlords behind the piracy to cut it back. He opined that
revenue was the goal of the piracy, but that the warlords
were finding that scaring away cargo ships was costing more
than they earned from the ransoms.



4. (SBU) Ikiara planned to propose to other agencies that
Kenya host a meeting of concerned countries and
international organizations to develop a common
international approach and see what each could do to ensure
safety of the sea, since Kenya has no capacity to patrol
waters off Somalia. He hoped that the U.S. and others
could provide information to help identify and spot the
pirates. DCM said we would attend such a meeting to see if
there was a way we could help, but stressed the need to
invite technical experts from other concerned countries.
She noted that any initiative should not target the Somali
people, and the need to cooperate with international
partners in any operations in international waters off
Somalia. DCM also noted the sensitivity of Somali
territorial waters.



5. (SBU) DCM also pointed out that the U.S. is not involved
in the contract the Somali Transitional Federal Government
(TFG) had allegedly signed with U.S. firm Top Cat Marine,
to provide coastal patrols. It also seems unlikely the TFG
has the financial resources for such a contract. NavAtt
noted we have no information on whether the firm can or has
delivered any products or services. KPA said it had no
information on Top Cat, and neither did the Somali maritime
representative in Nairobi.

Embassy Airspace Security: GOK to Review Request


--------------------------

---



6. (SBU) DCM recalled the 2003 plot to attack the Embassy
with an aircraft and said the continuing threat was the
basis for the Embassy's request for the GOK to prohibit the
airspace above our compound to aircraft below 9,000 feet.
Ikiara acknowledged the KCAA had no objection to the
proposal and said he had invited agencies including the
military, Ministry of Internal Security, MFA and
intelligence agencies to a meeting next week to determine
if there were any technical issues to address. He noted
the potential impact on operations at Moi Air Force Base,
and the DCM offered to help work out any technical issues.

Port and Coastal Security; Give us More Aid


--------------------------





7. (SBU) After reviewing our plans to refurbish or provide
patrol boats for the police for coastal and harbor patrols,
the DCM noted that our Anti-Terrorism Assistance and Coast
Guard visitors planned to visit Mombasa and Lamu the
following week to consult with local officials on the
International Ship and Port Security (ISPS) program

implementation. Ikiara welcomed the boats and said it
should be possible to go forward with the meetings in
Mombasa. He acknowledged that a World Bank-funded
contractor did an assessment of KPA's implementation of
ISPS, but did not agree to provide a copy of the report.
Kenya Maritime Authority said it is still in the process of
training and hiring staff and obtaining the equipment it
needs, and asked for assistance in equipping its new IMO
search and rescue center in Mombasa. Ikiara claimed the
Kenya Ferry Services carries 7 million passengers/year, and
that the GOK was concerned about the potential threat to
these services and passengers. He would welcome a proposal
to provide screening equipment that could swiftly check
people and vehicles for explosives before boarding a ferry.

Safe Skies; Need Article 98 Agreement for Continued Funding


--------------------------



--------------------------





8. (SBU) DCM reviewed the assistance the U.S. had provided
under the SSFA program and explained that Congress had
conditioned funding in FY 05 and FY 06 for such programs on
the signing of an Article 98 Agreement. She noted the FAA
had just informed the Embassy that SSFA programs in Kenya
would run out of funds soon, and that she wanted the
Ministry to be aware. Once the new Cabinet was appointed,
we hoped the GOK would consider signing an Article 98
agreement. Ikiara replied that he had not followed the
Article 98 debate because it was the MFA's responsibility.
He cautioned that conditioning aid on a particular issue
could trigger public resentment against tied aid and
"unreasonable" requests from donors. He admitted the
Kenyan media may have created misperceptions of the Article
98 issue.

Comment


--------------------------





9. (SBU) Ikiara hopes that drawing enough international
attention and pledges to address piracy off the Horn of
Africa will make it go away. If not, the GOK will look to
the U.S. and other countries to take action because Kenya
has no capacity to do so, while still respecting Somalia's
sovereignty. Ikiara appeared supportive of the request to
close the Embassy's airspace, but made no commitment.
Ikiara was taken aback by the linkage of the Article 98
Agreement to continued funding for SSFA, and it is not
clear whether he will advocate for signing an Agreement.

Bellamy