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Cablegate: U.N. U/Syg Holmes Briefs Security Council On

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DE RUCNDT #0182/01 0582145
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 272145Z FEB 08
FM USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3816
INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI PRIORITY 0679
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 3122
RUEHRO/USMISSION UN ROME PRIORITY
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 USUN NEW YORK 000182

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR IO, PRM, AFR; USAID FOR DCHA; GENEVA FOR NKYLOH,
ROME FOR HSPANOS, BRUSSELS FOR PBROWN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PREF UNSC KE
SUBJECT: U.N. U/SYG HOLMES BRIEFS SECURITY COUNCIL ON
HUMANITARIAN SITUATION IN KENYA

1. SUMMARY. On February 25 Under Secretary General for
Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes briefed the Security Council
on his recent mission to Kenya and cautioned that the current
situation is evolving into a protracted humanitarian crisis.
Holmes stressed the need to address the root causes of the
violence and deep-seated ethnic grievances. Following
Holmes' briefing, members met in closed session. They
thanked Holmes for his work and praised the ongoing mediation
efforts led by Kofi Annan. None disagreed with Holmes'
analysis that the risk of a return to violence is increasing
as the stalemate over the political negotiations continues.
Council members also called upon both sides to put the
interests of the country first. END SUMMARY.

--CURRENT SITUATION--

2. Holmes' stated objectives of the mission were to reaffirm
the U.N.'s support for the Kenyan people and to assess the
humanitarian situation on the ground. He summarized the
humanitarian impact of the post-election violence: 1,000
people dead, 12,000 Kenyan refugees in Uganda, at least
300,000 displaced, and an estimated 500,000 in need of
emergency assistance. Holmes reported that most of the basic
humanitarian needs in the displacement camps and sites are
being met and commended the Kenyan Red Cross Society (KRCS),
which has led the response. Holmes stressed that
international efforts have been supporting and complementing
Kenya's national response capacity. However, Holmes
cautioned that the capacity of the KRCS to respond in the
medium and longer-term is limited and may not be sustainable.
The KRCS will need international support to continue to meet
humanitarian needs in a protracted crisis situation.

3. According to Holmes, heightened ethnic awareness and
fears have permeated the country and are fueling
polarization. As a result, the current displacement crisis
will remain even if a political agreement is reached. Holmes
referred to the post- election violence and resulting
humanitarian emergency as an "unexpected crisis", but then
asked whether it should have been anticipated. He stated
that long-standing grievances over land, poverty, and
economic inequalities must be addressed, and that political
manipulation of land and tribal issues must be prevented
through constitutional and electoral reform. Holmes
repeatedly stressed the need to hold those responsible for
the violence accountable.

4. Holmes also noted the regional implications of crisis due
to Kenya's role as East Africa's main transport hub. He
underscored that more than 80 percent of Uganda's total
imports for 2007, and all of Rwanda's exports, passed through
Mombassa. Countries throughout the region, as well as
related humanitarian operations, are dependent on Kenya's
ports.

--NEXT STEPS--

5. Holmes reported that the U.N's Emergency Humanitarian
Response Plan is currently 60 percent funded, and will be
revised in the coming weeks to respond to the protracted
crisis. The U.N. is planning a year ahead and working on
action and contingency plans with KRCS. Holmes stated that
the U.N. will also consider reorienting development programs
to address the country's underlying social and economic
inequalities.

6. Holmes stressed that without a quick resolution to the
political crisis, "the risk of a fresh surge in violence,
more displacement and further polarization of society is very
high. The humanitarian consequences of this could dwarf
anything we have seen so far." He urged continued support
from the international community for solutions to both the
short-term political problems and the long-term issues.

--SECURITY COUNCIL RESPONSE--

7. South Africa and Burkina Faso both stressed the threat to
the region if Kenya falls apart. Burkina Faso cited the
fundamental role of African Union countries in resolving the
crisis. Italy voiced support for the principle of African
ownership in resolving the crisis. The fragility of the

USUN NEW Y 00000182 002 OF 002


current situation and the importance of holding those
responsible for the violence accountable were echoed by
several members. France went further by suggesting that an
international commission might be needed if accountability is
not a priority. Costa Rica noted that peace cannot be built
without first addressing the issues of justice, and cautioned
against adding Kenya to the long list of countries requiring
international peacekeepers. Belgium called on the Security
Council to give a sign of encouragement to both parties in an
effort to hasten a political resolution. Belgium also noted
that in-depth reforms are needed. Several members
underscored the importance of the U.N. remaining active in
supporting a political solution.

8. Applauding actions undertaken to address the needs of the
displaced, USUN called upon the Kenyan Government to
intensify cooperation in the humanitarian response.
Political Minister Counsellor reiterated the importance of
real power sharing, not just the illusion. Reaffirming
support for Annan's efforts, he also commended the
international humanitarian response as well as the work of
the KRCS and the Kenyan people.
KHALILZAD

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