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09NAIROBI2335 2009-11-10 12:39:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Nairobi
Cable title:  

SOMALIA - CONVERSATION WITH PRESIDENT SHEIKH SHARIF

Tags:   PGOV PREL KDEM EAID PTER PINR SO 
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1. (C) Summary: I spoke with Transitional Federal
Government (TFG) President Sheikh Sharif as he began his
travel to Turkey on November 6 to attend an Organization of
the Islamic Conference (OIC) summit. The point of his trip
was to see fellow Islamic heads of state and press for them
to support the TFG, he explained. Sharif explained he had
named a new Benadir Region/Mogadishu municipal
administration, and was making changes to Mogadishu Port
management to improve professionalism and transparency.
Sharif also said he would make changes to his military
command structure, after consulting with us. He gladly
accepted the importance of the U.S.-led Security Sector
Assessment report. Sharif asked us to press other nations,
especially European and Gulf states, to financially support
the TFG. End Summary.



2. (C) On November 6 I had a brief phone conversation with
TFG President Sheikh Sharif before his departure for Turkey
to attend the OIC economic summit.



3. (C) Sharif said that the TFG has finished setting up the
new Benadir region administration. He is pleased with the
result, because it incorporates educated professionals. At
the same time, Sharif said, constructive changes have been
made at the Mogadishu port to improve transparency and
efficiency. (Note: Media reported on November 9 the TFG
wanted to remove director Abdi "Jinow." End Note.) Sharif
said he is very hopeful that the changes will have a positive
impact in building support for the TFG.



4. (U) The new Benadir administration was subsequently
announced as Abdirazak Mohamed Nur "Engineer Nune"
(Hawiye/Rer Mataan) - Mayor and Regional Administrator;
Abdisalam Dahir Abdulle (Hawiye/Haber Gedir/Sarur) - First
Deputy for Political and Public Affairs; Warsame Mohamed
Hasan (Hawiye/Murosade) - Second Deputy for Security; Iman
Nur Ikar (Rer Hamar/Benaadiri, or descendent of Mogadishu's
Arab trader settlers) - Administration and Finance; and
Abdikafi Hilowle Osman (Hawiye/Hawadle) - Secretary General.
Mayor Nur is a civil engineer and businessman, from an Abgal
clan widely viewed to be truly native to Mogadishu. Early
reports are that he is a respected professional who has
remained above petty clan politics.



5. (C) In addition, Sharif reported, the TFG has staffed the
military court, and is working hard on the civilian justice
system, particularly the setting up of the Supreme Court.



6. (C) Sharif said that a number of former Somali military
officers now in the United States and other places are ready
to return to Somalia to assist the TFG. The TFG needs
financial support in order to make this happen. Sharif said
that he may make changes in the military hierarchy in order
to make his armed forces more effective. I emphasized the
sensitivity of any changes, and he said that he would make no
changes without consulting us in advance. I noted that the
security sector assessment carried out by the United States,
UK, and others is nearing completion, and emphasized the need
for the President to support implementation of the
recommendations. I pointed out that some within the TFG may
resist doing this. Sharif said that he fully supports close
cooperation with us and would ensure that his team works
closely with us to follow up on the assessment and relevant
recommendations.



7. (C) I commended Sharif on his continued efforts to reach
out to regions and clans, as well as to the Ahlu Sunnah Wal
Jama'a. He said that he appreciates the importance of
broadening support for the TFG, and will continue such
outreach. He agreed that the TFG cabinet must be inclusive
and have as broad representation as possible.



8. (C) Pre-empting a point I was going to make, Sharif said
he is aware that some are concerned about the amount of time
he has been spending away from Mogadishu recently. He plans
to limit travel, but emphasized that some travel is crucial
as part of his efforts to lobby international partners for
support. At the OIC economic forum in Turkey, a number of
key heads of state will be present, and he wants to press
them to provide support for the TFG. There is also an East
Africa Community forum in Addis on November 14 - 15, which

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will present an opportunity to lobby for support. Sharif
appealed to the United States to continue to press the
Europeans, Gulf States, and others to honor commitments
already made to the TFG and to provide additional support. I
assured him that we are doing so.



9. (C) Sharif asked that I pass his regards to A/S Carson.
Sharif inquired about the policy review on Somalia which he
understood was being carried out in Washington. I assured
him that the United States remains committed to supporting
the TFG.
RANNEBERGER