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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
09ADDISABABA723 2009-03-26 13:28:00 SECRET//NOFORN Embassy Addis Ababa
Cable title:  

ARAB LEAGUE AMBASSADORS ON SOMALIA AND SUDAN

Tags:   PREL PTER ET SO XF 
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VZCZCXRO0664
PP RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHKUK RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHDS #0723/01 0851328
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 261328Z MAR 09
FM AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4227
INFO RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNSOM/SOMALIA COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEPADJ/CJTF HOA PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUZEFAA/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE PRIORITY
					  S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 ADDIS ABABA 000723 

NOFORN
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/26/2019
TAGS: PREL PTER ET SO XF
SUBJECT: ARAB LEAGUE AMBASSADORS ON SOMALIA AND SUDAN

REF: A. 2008 ADDIS ABABA 1065

B. ADDIS ABABA 698

Classified By: AMBASSADOR DONALD YAMAMOTO. REASONS: 1.4 (B) AND (D).



1. (S/NF) Summary. Ambassadors from Arab League countries
raised with the U.S. Ambassador during their regular
gatherings, questions about the new Administration in the
context of U.S. policy towards Somalia. The Arab Ambassadors
pressed the Ambassador on U.S. support for the new
Transitional Federal Government (TFG) leader, Sheikh Sharif.
The Ambassadors underscored that Sharif may be the last
chance for peace in Somalia, and urged the United States to
support Sharif, even if he is in dialogue with "terrorists."
The Arab Ambassadors believed that such dialogue was a
necessary measure to end the violence in Somalia. The Arab
Ambassadors also complained bitterly about Ethiopia's
perceived "anti-Arab" posture and that Ethiopia must change
its attitude or risk alienating the large Muslim population
in Ethiopia and heavy Arab investments in Ethiopia's public
sector. End Summary.

Somalia: The Final Chance


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





2. (S/NF) Ambassadors from Arab League countries (Sudan,
Libya, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria,
Palestine, and the Arab League, etc.) hosted the Ambassador
for a regular luncheon meeting on March 24. The meeting was
part of a regular dialogue initiated by the U.S. and Yemeni
Ambassadors as a means to enhance mutual understanding. In
previous meetings, the Arab Ambassadors took the opportunity
to air their complaints about U.S. policy, Muslim tensions in
Africa, and Ethiopia-Arab tensions (REFTELS). The Arab
Ambassadors pressed the Ambassador on U.S. support for newly
selected TFG leader Sheikh Sharif, who they noted was
previously opposed by the United States when he was a leader
of the Islamic Courts. The Ambassador noted Embassy
Nairobi's public statement welcoming Sheikh Sharif as the new
TFG leader. The Ambassador noted that Washington supported
the TFG and its leadership.



3. (S/NF) The Arab Ambassadors all stated emphatically that
Sharif could be the best, and possibly final, chance at
bringing peace to Somalia. They cautioned the U.S.
Ambassador that U.S. support is important and must continue
even if Sheikh Sharif engages in dialogue with extremists and
known terrorists. Sharif may be the only person able to
persuade such groups to end the violence, they insisted. The
U.S. Ambassador cautioned the group that such dialogue can be
counter productive and reminded them that individuals like
Muktar Robow are on international terrorist lists. The
Egyptian, Sudanese, and Libyan Ambassadors urged the U.S. not
to continue air strikes in Somalia against terrorist targets.
They cautioned that with a new administration there should
be a new outreach to Muslims, and that military strikes do
not promote understanding.



4. (S/NF) The U.S. Ambassador underscored that the election
of a new U.S. president always offers new approaches and new
ideas to resolution of problems and that we must all focus,
for now, in supporting the TFG, and efforts by the African
Union because the alternative is violence in Somalia. In
this context, the U.S. Ambassador urged the Arab Ambassadors
to demonstrate their support for the TFG by paying for
salaries of the TFG troops being trained by Ethiopia, and
others. The United States, the Ambassador noted, had already
contributed over 180 million USD in support of the African
Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and humanitarian support
for the people of Somalia, and asked the Arab Ambassadors to
contribute as well.

Ethiopian-Arab Tensions


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





5. (S/NF) The Egyptian Ambassador articulated the deep
frustration with Ethiopia. The Prime Minister and Foreign
Minister have yet to meet with the Arab Ambassadors,
especially to explain why Ethiopia severed relations with
Qatar over a year ago. All of the Ambassadors complained
that while the Prime Minister meets with the European and
even Asian Ambassadors, he has yet to meet with the Arabs.
The U.S. Ambassador noted that he personally interceded on

ADDIS ABAB 00000723 002 OF 002


behalf of the Arab Ambassadors in securing approval from
Prime Minister Meles and Foreign Minister Seyoum to meet
privately with the Arab Ambassadors in the near future, and
that the Arab group should coordinate a time. The Arab
Ambassadors expressed frustration with the Ethiopians to the
point that the Saudi Ambassador said the Ethiopians know
where they are, and they can arrange the meeting if they are
serious. The Arab Ambassadors noted that the Ethiopians need
to do a better job cultivating Arab states because of the
high Muslim population in Ethiopia, and the heavy Arab
investment in Ethiopia.



6. (S/NF) The Egyptian Ambassador raised the lack of
progress in finalizing a Nile River Basin Agreement, warning
that if it is not resolved it could lead to unnecessary
tensions between Egypt and the African states. The Arab
Ambassadors interestingly noted that Sudan was the main
obstacle, though Ethiopia was also a blockage.

Sudan: Support Article 16


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





7. (S/NF) The Arab Ambassadors urged Washington to support
the African Union position of seeking a one year delay to the
ICC arrest warrant for Sudanese President Bashir. The
Ambassadors said pushing for an Article 16 deferral at the
United Nations would allow this highly contentious issue to
be kicked down the road, and avoid creating problems which
could make the Sudan situation more dangerous.

Comment


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





8. (S/NF) The Arab League Ambassadors meeting has been an
extremely useful exchange in allowing the U.S. Ambassador to
raise issues of concern on regional, African Union, and
Ethiopian domestic and foreign issues. The Arab
Ambassadors find the meetings important since there are few
mechanisms available for them to meet with their European and
North American counterparts except at receptions. End
Comment.
YAMAMOTO