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06CAIRO7260 2006-12-28 15:41:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Cairo
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1. (C) MFA Assistant Minister for African Affairs,
Ambassador Marsoum Marzouk, detailed Egyptian concerns and
responses to the current fighting between Ethiopian forces
and the Somali Council of Islamic Courts (CIC). Responding
to ref A demarche, Marzouk noted that Egypt was an unlikely
transit point for jihadists interested in joining the fight
against Ethiopia in Somalia. Nor did he believe Egypt was in
a strong position to exercise influence with the CIC,
especially with Ethiopian military forces inside Somali
territory in large numbers. Nevertheless, Marzouk promised
to bring the U.S. message directly to the Minister's

2. (C) Discussing steps that the international community
might take to pressure the CIC and the Somali Transitional
Federal Government (TFG) to reach a political solution,
Marzouk noted that a prolonged Ethiopian military presence in
Somalia made negotiations between the Courts and the TFG
highly unlikely. Somali Parliament Speaker, who Marsouk met
with in Cairo the previous day, claimed that face-to-face
negotiations between the Courts and the TFG were impossible
during Ethiopian occupation. Likewise, Marzouk said,
Ethiopian intervention would likely increase Somali support
for the Courts and push "moderate" politicians toward more
extreme positions. Marzouk said the GOE had sent numerous
diplomatic notes to the parties involved, urging restraint,
cessation of hostilities, and implementation of UNSCR 1725.
He warned that without a prompt UNSC call for a ceasefire and
Ethiopian withdrawal from Somalia, parallels would be drawn
between the perceived delays in Security Coucil action on
Lebanon last summer.

3. (C) Ahmed Haggag, Secretary General of the Africa Society
- a Cairo NGO with close ties to the GOE - told poloff on
December 28 that the international community should call for
all foreign troops to leave Somalia, to be replaced with IGAD
troops from non-neighboring countries as per UNSCR 1725. He
said that Ethiopian troops "have done their job" but will
cause more instability the longer they remain in Somalia.

4. (C) U.S. support for an Ethiopian withdrawal would also
improve the image of the U.S. among Somalis, Arabs, and
Muslims in general, said Haggag. He explained that by
delaying calls for an Ethiopian withdrawal, the U.S. brings
up memories of its implicit support for Israeli action in
Lebanon earlier this year. This fuels conspiracy theorists
who see a larger U.S and western war against Arabs and
Muslims world-wide, he said.