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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06ADDISABABA1647
2006-06-15 17:03:00
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Embassy Addis Ababa
Cable title:  

IGAD AMBASSADORS IN ETHIOPIA DISCUSS SOMALIA

Tags:   IGAD  PTER  ASEC  MARR  KPKO  AU  SO  ET 
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VZCZCXYZ0008
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHDS #1647/01 1661703
ZNR UUUUU ZZH (CCY ADE2F2A3 MSI6119-695)
O 151703Z JUN 06
FM AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1147
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHTC/AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE IMMEDIATE 1203
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA IMMEDIATE
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
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RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
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RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
						UNCLAS ADDIS ABABA 001647 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

(C O R R E C T E D C O P Y) PARAGRAPH 1 CLASSIFICATION
CHANGE TO SBU

USUN FOR A/S FRAZER
HAGUE FOR A/DAS REDDICK

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: IGAD PTER ASEC MARR KPKO AU SO ET
SUBJECT: IGAD AMBASSADORS IN ETHIOPIA DISCUSS SOMALIA
INTERVENTION

REF: A. ADDIS ABABA 1634


B. ADDIS ABABA 1638



1. (SBU) SUMMARY: At a meeting of ambassadors from IGAD member
states and donor partners June 15, the Ambassador of the
Somalia TFG to Ethiopia, Abdil Karim Farah, told those
assembled that the armed units of the Islamic Courts Union
(ICU) were advancing toward both Belet Dweyne and Baidoa. He
said that the ICU was seeking to capture as much territory as
possible to preempt an international intervention. He also
claimed that ICU forces were closing cinemas and had shot two
soccer fans for watching World Cup matches on television in a
Taliban-style crackdown. IGAD Executive Secretary Attalla
Beshir called for rapid deployment an IGAD Peace Support
Mission made up of Ugandan and Sudanese troops. The ExecSec
also declared that "no one is happy to have fundamentalists
in this part of the world," and that "the TFG is a baby that
belongs to all of us." He expressed openness to any
initiative, and strongly urged that IGAD chair Kenya be added
to the Contact Group being formed at a meeting in New York
June 15. Sudanese and Uganda reps expressed willingness to
move quickly to support the TFG militarily; Sudan urged the
lifting of the arms embargo. The Ethiopian representative to
the AU, Sahilework Zewdie, said IGAD members had a duty "to
protect and support a legitimate government regardless of an
arms embargo or any other consideration." She added that "we
have no time now." The TFG rep stated that the Transitional
Parliament had approved international intervention, including
that of front-line states like Ethiopia, Kenya or Djibouti,
to counter the advance of the ICU. Comment: the above
comments gave post the sense that IGAD states -- particularly
Ethiopia -- might act militarily in Somalia even in the
absence of UNSC approval if the TFG appears to be in
jeopardy. END SUMMARY.



2. (U) Charge and Pol/Econ Counselor attended the Joint IGAD
(Inter-Governmental Authority on Development) Partners Forum
June 15 in Addis Ababa, which was hosted by the Italian
Embassy. In attendance were ambassadors or representatives
from most IGAD states, including Ethiopia, Sudan, Uganda,
Kenya and Djibouti, as well from donor/partner countries
including major European nations and Japan. While other
issues were dealt with, developments in Somalia dominated the
agenda.



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

--
IGAD SECRETARIAT: TFG BABY BELONGS TO ALL OF US


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

--



3. (SBU) IGAD Executive Secretary Attalla Beshir told the
group that neither the international community nor Somalia's
Transitional Federal Government (TFG) have moved quickly
enough to bolster the latter's effectiveness since it emerged

from the peace process in 2004. This lack of progress left a
vacuum that has now understandably been filled by the Islamic
Courts Union (ICU). This development had totally changed the
scenario in Somalia. Beshir noted that both Somali warlords
and the ICU had opposed the TFG. The ExecSec also declared
that "no one is happy to have fundamentalists in this part of
the world," and that "the TFG is a baby that belongs to all
of us."



4. (SBU) He expressed openness to any initiative, but called
for close coordination of any initiative through IGAD and the
African Union (AU). He strongly urged that IGAD chair Kenya
be added to the Contact Group being formed at a meeting in
New York June 15. Beshir noted that at their recent meeting
in Nairobi, IGAD foreign ministers were eager to move forward
with a peace support mission to strengthen the TFG. IGAD had
waited for two years for action from the UNSC on the arms
embargo, but had seen none. Meanwhile, many countries had
intervened in Somalia unilaterally with arms. Beshir argued
that a unilateral intervention, or one simply "imported from
New York," was bound to fail. Only a regionally supported
and coordinated initiative was desirable.



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

-
TFG AMBASSADOR: DON'T LET ICU TIGHTEN ITS GRIP


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

-




5. (SBU) TFG Ambassador to Ethiopia Abdil Karim Farah stated
that while the TFG had been blocked from establishing itself
in Mogadishu, the ICU had filled the vacuum of government
authority with social service networks, including madrassa
schools the distorted the views of a generation of children.
Three months ago, he said, the warlords had put together an
"anti-terror alliance" to confront the ICU saying openly that
they were "working with the Americans." Farah claimed that
there had been no "popular uprising" in favor of the ICU, but
rather Somalis were simply fed up with the reign of the
warlords.



6. (SBU) Now the ICU was advancing toward the central town of
Belet Dweyne, the Ambassador said. At the same time, ICU
forces were reinforcing for a move toward Baidoa. The TFG,
for its part, had no combat equipment and only a
lightly-armed militia of 7,000. Farah argued that the IGAD
communique of June 13th had prompted the ICU to accelerate
its military campaign, trying to capture as much territory as
possible in advance of any international intervention. In
their wake, they had begun closing cinemas and had shot two
soccer fans for watching the World Cup on television,
Taliban-style. The TFG rep urged that the international
community not allow the ICU to tighten its grip on southern
Somalia.



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


SUDAN AND UGANDA EAGER TO DEPLOY


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





7. (SBU) The Ugandan Ambassador said the situation in Somalia
affected all IGAD members and partners. "It is in our
interest to do whatever we can to contain and reverse the
current trend by supporting the TFG," she stated. She
recalled the example of successful international action in
Burundi, and said that "we must do more than we have done so
far."



8. (SBU) The Sudanese Ambassador echoed the Ugandan's
comments, arguing that "we must support the TFG both
militarily and politically. How can you tie someone's hands,
throw him into a river and expect him to swim." The Sudanese
rep stated that if the international community wanted Sudan
and Uganda to go in to Somalia, the UNSC must lift the arms
embargo. Heavy arms would be needed to confront the current
situation. "If we just sit here and keep talking, (the ICU)
will advance all the way to Djibouti," he concluded.



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


ETHIOPIA EVEN MORE WILLING, EMBARGO OR NOT


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





9. (SBU) Ethiopia's representative to the AU, Amb. Sahilework
Zewde told the group that the ICU was not monolithic and some
elements might be willing to engage the TFG. She also
claimed that ultimately clan loyalty would trump allegiance
to the extremists. Nonetheless, it was dangerous to allow
the collapse of the TFG. "IGAD members must protect and
support a legitimate government," Sahilework argued, "and
this commitment should not be contingent on an arms embargo
or any other consideration." It was important to act as
quickly as possible; "we have no time."



10. (SBU) TFG Ambassador Farah intervened again to underscore
the Transitional Federal Parliament's decision the day prior
to authorize international intervention to support the TFG,
including from front-line states like Ethiopia, Kenya and
Djibouti. He recalled that warlords "had turned the people
against Ethiopia," but the situation had now changed. The
Uganda rep chimed in to say that a mission in Somalia would
be big and dangerous and Uganda would welcome more help with
the job. She also argued for adequate financial support and
force size to succeed in a difficult environment.



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


EUROPEANS AND USG CAUTIOUS


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




11. (SBU) Several European ambassadors interjected notes of
caution to the discussion. The Greek ambassador agreed on
the need for urgent action, but asked whether there was not
time solid preparations and a firm institutional underpinning
for intervention. He asked how the UN arms embargo would
impact any intervention, and suggested consultations at the
upcoming Banjul Summit of AU heads of state in early July.
He also wondered whether a new AU resolution would be needed
from the Peace and Security Council (PSC) to authorize
military action. (NOTE: An AU PSC meeting began immediately
after the IGAD meeting. END NOTE). British Ambassador Bob
Dewar, for his part, agreed on the need for extension
consultations between the Contact Group and the AU/IGAD.
Dewar noted that the UN had recently agreed to respond the AU
PSC's request to reconsider the arms embargo. The British
rep also questioned whether there was a viable cease-fire for
a peace support operation to implement. The Swedish
Ambassador suggested a high-level meeting of the Combined
Monitoring Commission (CMC) to express support for the TFG.



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



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


COMMENT: STRONG SENTIMENT FOR MILITARY INTERVENTION


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



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





12. (SBU) The above comments gave post the sense that IGAD
states -- particularly Ethiopia -- might act militarily in
Somalia in advance of any UNSC decision on the embargo or
intervention if the TFG appears to be in jeopardy.
HUDDLESTON