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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06ROME374 2006-02-08 13:55:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Rome
Cable title:  

ITALY AGREES ON SOMALIA, REQUESTS USG CONTACT ON

Tags:   PGOV PREL XW IT 
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ROME 000374 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/02/2016
TAGS: PGOV PREL XW IT
SUBJECT: ITALY AGREES ON SOMALIA, REQUESTS USG CONTACT ON
HORN ISSUES

REF: A. STATE 14531

B. USEU TODAY 01/05/2006

C. ROME 117

Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Anna Borg for reasons 1.4 (b) an
d (d).



1. (C) Summary. MFA Director General for Sub-Saharan Africa
Armando Sanguini February 1 expressed his complete agreement
with Reftel A points urging support for a meeting of
Somalia's parliament, and briefed DCM Anna Borg on his recent
trip to Asmara. Sanguini suggested more regular contact
between Italy and the United States, perhaps at the A/S or
DAS level, on Somalia and other Horn issues to exchange views
and expertise. Noting that Italy was not invited to a
December Darfur contact group meeting in London, Sanguini
requested U.S. assistance in obtaining a seat for Italy at
the March gathering. End summary.



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


Somalia


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





2. (C) DCM delivered Reftel A points in a February 1 meeting
with DG Sanguini and encouraged Italy to use its influence
with Gedi to urge his cooperation in convening a session of
parliament in Baidoa. Sanguini expressed his complete
agreement with our views and commented that the last point
also could be applied to countries from outside the region,
which should also refrain from activities that would give the
perception of external pressures on the process. With Baidoa
entering the picture, Sanguini noted that Italy would need to
take care in determining how to parcel aid out among the
various regions in Somalia.



3. (C) Gedi had been a calming force within Somalia,
according to Sanguini, but had begun to be a problem
recently. Sanguini pointed out Gedi's relative lack of power
compared to the president and speaker, since the prime
minister is appointed by the president, and noted that
President Yusuf seemed very determined to successfully
convene a session of parliament. Sanguini said the message
to Gedi is not to become irresponsible now. Although Italy
had believed Gedi would eventually be able convene a session
of parliament, and he had received the GOI's support,
Sanguini said it looked like Hassan would be the one to
finally make that happen. He noted that Italy would continue
to try to be supportive of Gedi, especially given the
impression he left in Rome after a fall visit where he
delivered what Sanguini termed a message of inclusiveness.



4. (C) Touching on the danger of Islamic radicalization in
Somalia, Sanguini pointed to the fact that most aid in
Somalia came through Muslim charities. He noted that this
was beneficial for Somalis when aid was given out of
humanitarian consideration, but he expressed concern that
some of the assistance was a radicalizing influence on Islam
in Somalia. Sanguini wondered whether it would be possible
for Western involvement with the Muslim community to
counterbalance this influence and noted the need for positive
engagement. He noted that the United States seemed to be
turning its attention to Somalia and put forth the
possibility of regular contact between U.S. and GOI officials.



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


Eritrea and Ethiopia


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





5. (C) DCM affirmed U.S. commitment to finding a sustainable
solution to the Ethiopia-Eritrea border dispute, including
demarcation of the border in accordance with the Ethiopia
Eritrea Border Commission decision, and support for a meeting
of the Witnesses to the Algiers Accord. Italy is very
supportive of the U.S. initiative on Ethiopia and Eritrea,
according to Sanguini, and hopes that the effort brings some
results. Sanguini noted that he had met with Amb. DeLisi in
Asmara and had expressed Italy's willingness to collaborate
with the United States on the Ethiopia-Eritrea demarcation
issue. Sanguini noted that the Eritreans conflated the UN
position on Eritrean independence with the UN role in the

ROME 00000374 002 OF 002


border demarcation, and that the international community was
generally not seen as a friend in Asmara. He said that the
Eritrean government considers the international community to
be "guilty of neutrality".



6. (C) Judging President Afwerki's mood as calm and
confident, but tough, Sanguini suggested that if Afwerki were
to take a step forward, it could open possibilities as
President Meles might be able to see a positive result in it
for himself. Sanguini also remarked that Eritrea seems to
prefer bilateral initiatives to multilateralism--big
organizations tended to put the small country on the
defensive. Questioning the utility of an Algiers Witnesses
meeting, Sanguini said that Ethiopia would have to make a
step forward, even if it's a small one. He noted that the
Eritreans were right about Ethiopia's stance on demarcation.



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


Sudan


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





7. (C) As one of five Western members of the Sudan Evaluation
and Assessment Commission (EAC), Italy believed it should
have been invited to the December informal Darfur contact
group meeting in London. Sanguini pointed out that Italy had
many good contacts on Darfur and that the GOI was disturbed
to have been left out of the group. When Italy approached
the UK, they were told that the aim was to keep the group
small. Sanguini noted that the UK, United States, France,
Netherlands, Finland, African Union, and UN were all
represented and that Italy felt it should be part of the
group. Sanguini requested our help in pressing the UK to
invite the GOI to a follow-up meeting to be held in London in
March.



8. (C) Sanguini also noted that the current AU presence in
Darfur was a very small force and that it would take enormous
troop strength to effectively manage an area the size of
Darfur. He wondered why SRSG Pronk does not attend EAC
meetings, given their importance.



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


Consultation


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





9. (C) Sanguini strongly emphasized the importance of
periodic GOI exchanges with the United States on Sub-Saharan
Africa, especially Horn of Africa issues. Noting Italy's
experience and expertise in the Horn, he proposed an A/S or
DAS-level meeting twice a year in Washington, Rome, or an
African capital, to maintain a dialogue on Somalia,
Ethiopia-Eritrea, Sudan, and other topics of mutual interest.
Sanguini added that it would also be worthwhile to discuss
issues in the greater context of the Horn, with all of its
complex linkages.



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


Comment


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





10. (C) Italy sees itself as a major player in Horn of Africa
issues, actively seeking to influence EU policy (Ref B) and
regularly sending officials like Sanguini and Undersecretary
Alfredo Mantica to the region (Reftel C). The GOI also
appears to be genuinely interested in engaging regularly with
us, especially on Somalia. End Comment.
SPOGLI