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Cablegate: Security Council Looking to Be Useful On Somalia

VZCZCXRO3096
OO RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHBZ RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHDU RUEHFL RUEHGI
RUEHIK RUEHJO RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHMA RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHPOD
RUEHRN RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHTRO RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUCNDT #1057 3252053
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 212053Z NOV 07
FM USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3159
INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE

UNCLAS USUN NEW YORK 001057

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL SO
SUBJECT: SECURITY COUNCIL LOOKING TO BE USEFUL ON SOMALIA

Sensitive But Unclassified; Protect Accordingly.

1. (SBU) SUMMARY. UN A/SYG Menkerios described for Security
Council members the bleak realities of Somalia that together
dampen his enthusiasm for the recent peaceful change in
government -- Mogadishu still lacks basic security; the
humanitarian situation is deteriorating further; opposition
groups remain uncooperative; human rights abuses are ongoing
with the assassinations of four journalists among the recent
examples; and the Transitional Federal Government has little
capacity to complete even the limited tasks it has
undertaken. Several members called for increased assistance
to AMISOM and for more serious planning for a follow-on UN
peacekeeping operation. The French announced the arrival of
French warships in the region to provide humanitarian escort
in the face of the ongoing threat of piracy. The French and
British contacted DepPolCouns following the consultations to
express interest in the USG's call for a new Security Council
resolution on piracy off Somalia with the French also asking
for more detail on our reference to Combined Task Force 150.
END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) In a brief presentation to the UN Security Council
on November 19, Assistant Secretary-General for Political
Affairs Haile Menkerios summarized the SYG's November 7
report on Somalia and accentuated the few positive
developments -- principally the peaceful process leading to
selection of a new prime minister and the president's
initiation of broadly inclusive consultations as a
confidence-building measure. Menkerios quickly added,
however, that the Transitional Federal Government (TFG)
remained a virtual non-entity with little capacity to govern,
saying "there really isn't a functioning government,"
especially given what he called the "hardening" positions of
opposition leaders. He acknowledged that Mogadishu is still
insecure and that general insecurity in Somalia continues to
cause deterioration in humanitarian conditions with lack of
health care remaining a primary concern. He condemned human
rights violations, particularly the assassinations of TFG
officials and four journalists, excessive use of force buy
the TFG, and the closing of three radio stations.

3. (SBU) Members had praise for the efforts of African Union
AMISOM troops in Somalia and particular praise for the
forthcoming deployments of battalions from Burundi and
Nigeria. There was general acknowledgment, however, that
AMISOM is not the long-term answer to Somalia's crisis, with
South African PermRep Kumalo offering the most stark
appraisal: "AMISOM isn't going to make any difference with
its low strength and low support." Other members felt that
AMISOM could prove at least part of the solution. Several
members -- U.S., Belgium, Italy among them -- pledged
increased bilateral assistance to AMISOM. Chinese DPR Liu
said "the UN should take over AMISOM."

4. (SBU) DepPolCouns, drawing on department's guidance,
expressed USG disappointment that the Secretariat had not
engaged in more detailed contingency planning for a
peacekeeping operation (PKO) to eventually succeed AMISOM.
Italy, UK, South Africa, France, Russia, and Indonesia made
variations of the same point. Russia and Panama insisted that
any planning should not suggest that a PKO is imminent.
Menkerios offered only to pass along members' concerns to the
UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations. Qatar attributed
the worsening refugee situation solely to the continued
presence of Ethiopian troops and generally supported any
planning efforts that would lead to their withdrawal. South
Africa offered Qatar some support on this point with Kumalo
saying "we need to help the Ethiopians withdraw because their
presence is becoming the primary focus of those who oppose
change."

5. (SBU) Qatar raised a concern about piracy off the Somali
coast. France announced that French warships had arrived in
the vicinity to escort ships carrying humanitarian supplies.
DepPolCouns shared Qatar's concern and announced USG support
for the International Maritime Organization's recent call for
a new Security Council resolution on point. The French and
British missions contacted USUN following consultations to
express readiness to consider a new resolution. The French
also expressed interest in discussing further the USG
statement's reference to joint anti-piracy efforts via
Combined Task Force 150.
Khalilzad

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