|09TRIPOLI563||2009-07-13 09:49:00||CONFIDENTIAL||Embassy Tripoli|
1.(C) Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Johnnie Carson met with Spanish Minister of State for African Affairs Carmen de la Pena on July 1 on the margins of the African Union (AU) Summit in Sirte, Libya. De la Pena told A/S Carson she had written a letter of congratulation on his appointment and included a book -- Spanish Plan: Africa 2009-2012 -- in the hopes of deepening Spanish-U.S. coordination in African affairs. She reported that Spain had opened six new embassies in Africa over the past four years: Mali, Niger, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry and the Gambia. Noting that Spain was the closest European country to Africa, she highlighted a mid-June summit between Spanish President Zapatero and ECOWAS leaders as evidence of Spain's increased focus on peace and security issues.
2.(C) A/S Carson discussed USG efforts to combat transnational crime - particularly counternarcotics efforts - in West Africa and expressed pleasure that Spain shared our goals. Shifting to East Africa, A/S Carson laid out USG priorities in Somalia. De la Pena said that Spain had provided six million Euros to the Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) police through the AU, but was still waiting for that organization to take a decision on how to spend the money. De la Pena was interested in USG views on how to handle Somali piracy, particularly our position on judicial action against pirates. A/S Carson said that Kenya had so far borne much of the responsibility, but noted that the U.S. had taken swift action against the surviving MAERSK ALABAMA hijacker in U.S. courts. A/S Carson urged Spain to arrest and convict Somali pirates who were apprehended attempting to hijack Spanish owned or Spanish flagged vessels. De la Pena sought clarification on Africa Command's role on the continent. The Assistant Secretary said that the Command was still evolving but would in time become like EUCOM and PACOM - focusing more on mil-mil cooperation, training peace keepers, and building professional militaries that would operate under civilian constitutional rule and focus on external defense.
3.(U) A/S Carson has approved this message. CRETZ