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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
09DJIBOUTI5 2009-01-04 13:16:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Djibouti
Cable title:  

DJIBOUTI/SOMALILAND: CLOSER TIES BUT NO RECOGNITION

Tags:   DJ PREL SO 
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VZCZCXRO9299
RR RUEHDE RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHDJ #0005 0041316
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 041316Z JAN 09
FM AMEMBASSY DJIBOUTI
TO RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 3403
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9871
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUCNSOM/SOMALIA COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L DJIBOUTI 000005 

SIPDIS

NAIROBI FOR SOMALIA UNIT

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/03/2019
TAGS: DJ PREL SO
SUBJECT: DJIBOUTI/SOMALILAND: CLOSER TIES BUT NO RECOGNITION

REF: A. DJIBOUTI 997

B. DJIBOUTI 1032

Classified By: Amb. J. Swan for reasons 1.4 (b)(d).



1. (C) Summary: Djibouti-Somaliland relations continue
their warming trend (Ref A). Somaliland President Dahir
Kahin Rayale was received with great honor during his visit
to Djibouti Dec. 19-21, which included four hours of meetings
with Djiboutian President Ismail Omar Guelleh. The GODJ is
open to re-establishment of a Somaliland liaison office in
Djibouti. But the GODJ Foreign Minister stresses that
Djibouti maintains its "one-Somalia" policy, and has made
clear to the Hargeisa authorities that it does not support
formal recognition. End summary.



2. (C) The GODJ warmly welcomed Somaliland President Rayale
during his brief visit to Djibouti Dec. 19-21, according to
reports from Somaliland Foreign Minister Abdillahi Duale and
National Security Advisor Mohamed Nur Osman corroborated by
GODJ Foreign Minister Mahmoud Youssouf. The timing of the
visit centered on a meeting between Rayale and visiting U.S.
Senator Russell Feingold (Ref B.) According to both GODJ and
Somaliland contacts, Rayale was received at the airport by
the GODJ Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, and Information
Minister -- an unusually high-level welcoming party for any
foreign dignitary. The Somaliland delegation met with
President Guelleh for a total of four hours on Dec. 20,
including lunch, meetings with senior officials, and a
tete-a-tete between Guelleh and Rayale.



3. (C) GODJ Foreign Minister Youssouf clarified to
Ambassador and DCM Jan. 4 that, notwithstanding the honors
accorded to Rayale, GODJ policy toward Somalia continued to
be guided by three principles:

-- staunch GODJ adherence to a "one-Somalia policy" as
demonstrated by GODJ efforts to achieve reconciliation in
Somalia (Youssouf said it would take a "major shock" to cause
Djibouti to revisit this position);

-- GODJ reluctance to be the first to recognize an
independent Somaliland, a position that has been conveyed to
the Hargeisa authorities;

-- GODJ willingness to engage with the Somaliland government
on a "de facto" basis in view of the close trade, cultural,
and demographic connections between the two neighbors.



4. (C) Youssouf confirmed that the GODJ is eager to see a
Somaliland liaison office reopened in Djibouti. He explained
that the office had earlier been "suspended" in late 2006 due
to a dispute over livestock exports. There is now agreement
to re-establish the office, although he did not have an exact
date when this is expected. He also confirmed plans for the
Commercial and Industrial Bank of the Red Sea (BCI-MR), a
Djibouti-based bank in which the GODJ has approximately
one-third equity, to open an office in Hargeisa. (BCI-MR
Director Ould Amar Yahya told Ambassador Dec. 27 that the
bank indeed planned to open a small office to permit
Hargeisa-based customers to sign documents and order money
transfers without having to travel to Djibouti. The office
will not, however, accept deposits or provide cashier
services.) Foreign Minister Youssouf said that the GODJ
would take a "go slow" approach on the Somaliland
authorities' proposal to establish joint commissions to
deepen bilateral relations.



5. (C) Comment: While relations with Somaliland are
improving, the GODJ is proceeding cautiously and remains
skeptical of formal recognition of the Hargeisa government.
SWAN