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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06MASERU184
2006-04-13 15:05:00
CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN
Embassy Maseru
Cable title:  

LESOTHO AND LIBYA RELATIONS (C-AL6-00526)

Tags:  PINR PREL LT LY 
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VZCZCXRO2626
PP RUEHMR RUEHTRO
DE RUEHMR #0184/01 1031505
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P R 131505Z APR 06
FM AMEMBASSY MASERU
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1995
INFO RUEHTRO/USLO TRIPOLI 0001
RUEHMR/AMEMBASSY MASERU 2262
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MASERU 000184 

SIPDIS

NOFORN
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR INR/I; ALSO FOR AF/S

E.O. 12958: DECL: 4/13/2016
TAGS: PINR PREL LT LY
SUBJECT: LESOTHO AND LIBYA RELATIONS (C-AL6-00526)

REF: STATE 51978

CLASSIFIED BY: JUNE CARTER PERRY, AMBASSADOR, EXEC, STATE.
REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)



CLASSIFIED BY: JUNE CARTER PERRY, AMBASSADOR, EXEC, STATE.
REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)





1. (C/NF) We appreciate INR's interest in the relationship
between the Libyan Embassy in Maseru and the Government of
Lesotho (GOL). Ambassador had a lengthy meeting April 6 with
Libyan Ambassador Mohamed Algamudi at his residence.



2. (C/NF) The Libyan envoy's wife and daughter prepared an
elaborate buffet of North African dishes, traditional coffee
and juices to welcome the U.S. Ambassador. During our
discussion (interrupted by occasional appearances of his family,
including a one year old grandson), Algamudi stated that he had
a long standing friendship with the LCD's Minister of
Communications, Thomas Thabane. He related that when he arrived
in Lesotho in 2001, he was faced with the task of locating a
property and establishing their resident diplomatic mission in
Maseru. According to Algamudi, he was warmly received by both
Prime Minister Mosisili and Minister Thabane, who at the time
was the GOL's Foreign Minister. Thabane offered to locate a
chancery building for the Libyans and had actually turned over
the current facility to the Libyan People's Bureau. Since that
time, Algamudi indicated he and Thabane have been very close and
he (Algamudi) facilitated the Minister's travel to Tripoli and
the opening of a Lesotho Mission in Libya. Algamudi was also
involved in organizing a visit by Prime Minister Mosisili to
Tripoli.



3. (C/NF) We asked Ambassador Algamudi about his views on the
January 29 shooting of Lesotho Foreign Minister, since the
Foreign Minister had shared with us his opinion that both
Thabane and the Libyan envoy were involved in this attack.
Algamudi was firm in his defense of Thabane. He denied that
there would be any rationale for the Minister of Communications
to have orchestrated such an attack. He based his analysis on
the fact that Thabane has been present in every government since
Lesotho's independence nearly 40 years ago and that it would be
foolish for him to engage in internal political warfare within
the government. Algamudi posited that FOMIN Moleleki has known
Thabane for many years and that although Moleleki represents the
younger generation, it would be against his own interest to have
a conflict with Thabane.



4. (C/NF) Regarding Libya's potential involvement in this
attack, Algamudi did not address this issue directly; however,
he did state that as Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, he had taken
it upon himself to visit Moleleki in the hospital and to offer
him advice on how to handle statements concerning this assault.
Of interest, he indicated that he had been the individual who
told Moleleki to keep silent about the attempted assassination
and not to engage others in conversations about what had
occurred. He said he did this because he felt any comments by
the FOMIN would only exacerbate rumors and public discussion
about this unfortunate incident. Concerning the issue of
stability following the lack of any public statement until
recently by Moleleki or the government, Algamudi said he felt
this was for the best; that any public discussion by GOL
authorities would only add to a sense of insecurity in the
country.



5. (C/NF) On the question of GOL leaders' actual response to
the January incident, until April 12 there had only been a
series of rumors and allegations including a reported dispute
between Moleleki and the Police Commissioner about lack of
investigatory action. There had been only general allusion to
the incident in Parliament by the Deputy Prime Minister and now
disputed statement by the LCD Executive Secretary, Minister of
Trade Malie, who had suggested that the incident was a criminal
one. On April 12, the leading English language daily "Public
Eye" ran a statement by Moleleki saying that following the
January 29 LCD Party Congress, he had visited a "female
relative" and had not been at the house of any other woman prior
to the shooting which occurred around 2:00 a.m. (Note: A
widely-circulating rumor had it that the FOMIN had been visiting
a mistress and was shot by the woman's spouse. Editorials in
the same paper questioned why Moleleki was making this statement
at this time when he reportedly had never given a statement to
the police. End Note) In his statement, Moleleki continued to
accuse members of the LCD of fomenting over a period of years a
plan to assassinate him. There is no hard evidence for or
against the involvement of political leaders. However, Trade
Minister Malie's position was that there were elements within

MASERU 00000184 002 OF 002


the LCD who were very unhappy with Moleleki's leadership on the
Amendments Committee of the party. To date, there has been no
public comment by the Prime Minister. There have been
suggestions that Moleleki has thrown in his lot with his boss in
order to secure his own future position as the Prime Minister's
successor.



6. (C/NF) Algamudi shared with us a number of frustrations he
has had with the GOL in trying to provide assistance from Libya.
According to Ambassador Algamudi, his government has proposed
programs ranging from training of helicopter pilots, provision
of aircraft, supply of tractors and an unusual scheme to import
camels (to demonstrate Saharan transport methods, especially to
children of Lesotho, he said). He had previously shared with us
that a request to build a large Libyan/Lesotho Muslim Cultural
Center has remained dormant because there has never been a
response from the GOL to this offer from Libya. He also
reported difficulties in obtaining diplomatic IDs for members of
his family while he is resident in Lesotho.



7. (C/NF) Comment: The difficulties the Libyans have faced in
securing responses from the GOL are not unlike those of many of
the diplomatic missions in Lesotho; every one of them has
complained that responses to offers of assistance have taken
significant amounts of time. Granted, the services offered by
the Libyan People's Bureau do not seem always consistent with
the needs of this developing country. Algamudi implied that
Lesotho lags far behind some of its neighbors in the SADC region
in terms of professionalism and capacity within the government.
Overall, his relationship with the GOL appears to be mixed. On
the one hand, he has received the facilities support, which we
note also affords Lesotho officials the opportunity to keep an
eye on Libyan operations in country. At the same time, Libya
does appear to have an agenda and Algamudi has been forthcoming
in telling us that his government is seeking to strengthen the
African Union and Libya's role as a leader within that
organization. Whether or not the Libyan People's Bureau would
go so far as to have a role in attacking the Foreign Minister as
Moleleki has alleged, remains open to question. We will follow
up with Ambassador Algamudi when he returns from Tripoli where
he is traveling to visit his older brother who is gravely ill.
End Comment.
PERRY