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10NAIROBI15 2010-01-05 16:19:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Nairobi
Cable title:  

Somalia - TFG Prime Minister Reviews Progress in Wake of

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DE RUEHNR #0015/01 0051619
R 051619Z JAN 10
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 NAIROBI 000015 


E.O. 12958: DECL: 2020/01/05
SUBJECT: Somalia - TFG Prime Minister Reviews Progress in Wake of
Jeddah ICG

CLASSIFIED BY: Robert Patterson, Counselor for Somalia Affairs, State
Department, Somalia Unit; REASON: 1.4(B), (D)

1. (C) Summary: Transitional Federal Government (TFG) Prime
Minister Sharmarke described to Somalia Unit December 30 his
government's plans, immediately on his January 3 return to
Mogadishu, to shake-up Mogadishu port operations by removing the
current, corrupt leadership, and implementing a recently-concluded
agreement with Dubai-based businessmen that could, he predicted,
double annual port revenues. Sharmarke expressed concerns about
apparent, increasing instability in Puntland. He said he had
interceded with former Puntland strongman, and ex-TFG President
Abdullahi Yusuf's family to discourage Yusuf from returning to
Puntland. The Prime Minister described TFG Foreign Minister
"Jengele's" late-December visit to Iran as designed to induce the
GOI to end its alleged support to Eritrea, which in turn was
supporting the TFG's enemies. A TFG delegation of one minister and
four MPs would be in attendance at the Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jama'a
(ASWJ) conference in Abuudwaq (Galgaduud Region) as of December 31,
the Prime Minister said, as part of a continued effort to
strengthen cooperation. The Prime Minister promised, again, that
the one-year anniversary of President Sharif's TFG would find it in
control of large parts of Mogadishu, after a planned, mid-January
offensive. Meetings with Saudi officials following the December 17
Jeddah International Contact Group meeting had yielded some
movement in the Saudi government's willingness to engage with the
TFG. Efforts to induce the more than one hundred TFG MPs still in
Nairobi to travel to Mogadishu for sessions of the Parliament now
underway had yielded scant results. End summary.

2. (C) On December 30, one day after returning from an
extended stay in Saudi Arabia following the December 17
International Contact Group meeting in Jeddah (septel), Prime
Minister Sharmarke described some progress in the Transitional
Federal Government's (TFG) complicated negotiations for support
from the Government of Saudi Arabia. Sharmarke reported that the
Saudis had agreed to consider requests that they fund TFG
activities, provided that the requests were made in the form of
well-argued grant proposals. The Prime Minister, citing a lack of
TFG capacity, requested USG support in drafting the proposals.
Somalia Unit officer agreed to investigate the possibility of
recruiting someone experienced through a USAID program that was
soon to be established via IOM.

3. (C) The Saudis also agreed, Sharmarke said, to provide
assistance in organizing a media campaign to combat Islamic
extremism. Sharmarke thought that the Saudis would offer
programming that they had used in similar campaigns in Saudi
Arabia. Finally, Sharmarke said that the Saudis had agreed to
allow those students who had been wounded in the December 3 suicide
attack in Mogadishu and were being treated in a Saudi hospital to
continue their medical training in Saudi Arabia once discharged
from the hospital. Sharmarke said that he had visited the fourteen
Somali patients -including one TFG Minister-- while in Saudi
Arabia, and that his visit had been well-covered by the Saudi

4. (C) Sharmarke said that the TFG was interested in possibly
retaining a lobbying firm to advance its interests in Washington.
He planned a trip to the U.S. in February, and thought that he
might speak with some potential lobbyists at that time. Sharmarke
hoped that his February visit might be marked by a re-affirmation
of USG support for the TFG.

5. (C) Money remained a problem for the TFG, Sharmarke said,
and he was under instructions from TFG President Sharif to explore
every possible opportunity to generate more revenue. To that end,
he had successfully concluded an agreement while in Saudi Arabia
that would allow a small tax to be applied to the livestock
exported from south-central Somalia and Puntland to Saudi Arabia.
Sharmarke hoped the tax -he estimated it would be about 25 cents
per goat-would generate a few hundred thousand dollars per year for
his government.

NAIROBI 00000015 002 OF 003

6. (C) Also promising, Sharmarke said, was an agreement
recently concluded with Somali businessmen based in Dubai. The
businessmen were convinced that Mogadishu port revenues could be
doubled, and they had proposed a partnership with the TFG, which
would see the businessmen conclude a one-year contract that would
allot the TFG 85% of port revenues, with the consortium taking the
remaining 15%. In exchange, the consortium would make to the TFG a
one-time $3 million payment and would manage the port for the year.
Sharmarke said that step one was to replace current port managers,
something he planned to do immediately after arrival in Mogadishu.
The TFG would also move all port revenues generated into one
Central Bank of Somalia account. (Note: Currently, some of the
port's income flows through the hawalas Dahaabshil and Qaran.
Moving the revenues to the CBS should increase transparency.)

7. (C) Sharmarke thought that "everyone" was concerned about
increasingly instability in Puntland. He worried that President
"Faroole's" erratic behavior was creating a vacuum, and that the
likes of former TFG President and Puntland strongman Abdullahi
Yusuf were attempting to use it to return to power. Sharmarke
(himself from a Puntland clan, the Darood) had discouraged Yusuf
through members of Yusuf's family from getting re-involved in
Puntland. He planned to telephone Yusuf, who was in Dubai, on
December 30.

8. (C) Sharmarke said that he had been approached by
Puntland elders, who were also concerned about "Faroole's" missteps
in Puntland. They had urged that he intervene with "Faroole." The
TFG's complicated relations with the Puntland Administration,
however, made the Prime Minister hesitant to do so. (Note:
Sharmarke signed a cooperation agreement with "Faroole" in June
2009, but efforts by TFG President Sharif to sign a second such
agreement were rejected by "Faroole" in November 2009. Relations
between the two entities have been lukewarm since.)

9. (C) Per Sharmarke, TFG Foreign Minister "Jengele's"
late-December 2009 visit to Iran had been at the instigation of the
GOI. "Jengele's" mission was to discourage Iran from aiding
Eritrea's efforts to fund al-Shabaab, Sharmarke said. "Jengele"
had seen the GOI Foreign Minister and President Ahmedinejad.
Sharmarke alleged that Iran was much more active in East Africa.
He said that Kenyan Prime Minister Odinga during a 2009 trip to
Iran had won financial assistance to Kenya's Mombasa port and
assistance in the construction or maintenance of dams and/or

10. (C) Sharmarke described the TFG's troubled efforts to build
bridges to Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jama'a (ASWJ). The TFG had encountered
problems in determining who really represented ASWJ, and had even
seen money that it had given to ASWJ miss the intended target, he
said. The TFG had provided $50,000 to fund a Galgaduud ASWJ
conference underway in Abuudwaq since December 18. A TFG Minister
and four TFG MPs were to attend the conference, beginning December

31. (Note: the Abuudwaq conference was suspended on January 2,
following al-Shabaab attacks on the ASWJ stronghold of

11. (C) In exchange for its agreement to provide funds to the
conference, the TFG had insisted that ASWJ work with other ASWJ
regional branches to create a national council. The TFG had given
ASWJ a deadline of mid-February, Sharmarke said. Continued
financial support from the TFG would ultimately be contingent, he
continued, on the integration of ASWJ forces into the TFG's command

NAIROBI 00000015 003 OF 003

12. (C) Sharmarke was unhappy that only slightly more than 300
of the Parliament's 550 MPs were currently at plenaries in
Mogadishu. He had urged many of the Nairobi MP hold-outs on
December 29 to return to Mogadishu. The TFG, he said, would book
African Air tickets to Mogadishu for any MPs inclined to travel.
(Note: In the end, few of the more than 100 MPs in Nairobi took
Sharmarke up on his offer.)

13. (C) Comment: In the December 30 meeting, Sharmarke seemed
cautiously optimistic that the TFG was, at last, beginning to
grapple with the manifold problems facing it. He thought that the
strong endorsement provided to the TFG at the December 17
International Contact Group meeting in Jeddah had been a shot in
the arm for the government, and he seemed determined to capitalize
on the fragile momentum it had created to advance the government's