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Cablegate: Somali Diaspora Highlights the Challenges Of

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ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 031530Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY OTTAWA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7949
INFO RUCNCAN/ALL CANADIAN POSTS COLLECTIVE
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
RUCNSOM/SOMALIA COLLECTIVE
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 0383
RUEHDJ/AMEMBASSY DJIBOUTI 0009
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RUEHKI/AMEMBASSY KINSHASA 0062
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 0188
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 OTTAWA 000737

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL CA SO
SUBJECT: SOMALI DIASPORA HIGHLIGHTS THE CHALLENGES OF
NATION-BUILDING

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: In a well-attended conference on May 22
with keynote speeches by Somali Transitional Federal
Government Foreign Minister Jangeli, former Prime Minister of
Canada Joe Clark, and AF DAS Jim Swan, the Canadian Friends
of Somalia attempted to raise awareness of the "problems and
challenges of nation-building in Somalia." The Somali
Diaspora here reflects the same clan divisions that would be
evident in Mogadishu, but this event succeeded in drawing out
a number of Canadian officials on the issue of support for
the TFG and helped to galvanize the community itself in its
efforts to assist their homeland. Given the drive to marshal
resources for a few missions rather than being spread thin
everywhere, the government of Prime Minister Harper will not
make Somalia a major priority. However, there are a few
niche areas -- conflict resolution, constitution writing, and
federalism -- where Canadian expertise could be helpful to
Somalia's reconstruction, while the Somali Diaspora here
could also play a supporting role. End Summary.

2. (SBU) On May 22, the Canadian Friends of Somalia, a
loosely-organized Diaspora group based in Ottawa, organized
a conference entitled "The Challenges and Opportunities of
Nation-Building in Somalia." According to one participant,
the group represents several but not all Somali clans (the
Hawiye in particular were apparently not present), as the
Diaspora here has brought with it various clan rivalries.
Over 200 Somali-Canadians, Canadian and U.S. public
officials, and NGO reps attended. The group obtained a
conference room on Parliament Hill through Liberal MP Boris
Wrzesnewskyj, whose Toronto Etobicoke "riding" (district) has
one of the highest concentrations of Somalis in Canada.
Wrzesnewskyj also addressed the conference, along with former
Prime Minister Joe Clark, TFG Foreign Minister Ali Jama
Jangeli, and, by teleconference, UN Special Envoy Ahmedou
Ould-Abdallah. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for
African Affairs Jim Swan and Canadian Department of Foreign
Affairs and International Trade Director General for Africa
David Angell made presentations on U.S. and Canadian policy
toward Somalia specifically and Africa more generally.

FORMER PM CLARK -- IS AFRICA FALLING OFF CANADA'S MAP?
--------------------------------------------- ---------

3. (SBU) Former PM Clark suggested that the Somali Diaspora
-- about 20,000 in the Toronto area alone --
could have more influence on Canadian policy and on events in
its homeland if it were less divided, if the younger
generation (which is quickly getting disconnected from its
homeland) were more engaged, and if it received more
assistance from NGOs and/or the government to get better
organized. He admitted that there was no groundswell of
support in Canada for doing more for Africa, and commented
that the government was able largely to ignore the continent
and focus instead primarily on Afghanistan and the U.S. But
Clark, who has remained active in a number of NGOs and think
tanks working with African and Western hemispheric issues,
indicated that there were some creative ways for individuals
Qindicated that there were some creative ways for individuals
and groups to be helpful, citing "Project Plowshare," which
aims to stop remittances from going to weapons purchases, as
one example. Clark challenged the Canadian government to
focus on the good news coming out of much of Africa and pay
it more attention. Canada's niche on certain issues, Clark
said, as well as its moral standing, could make a difference
in Africa, asking "what other country will engage if we
don't?"

FM JANGELI ON THE SITUATION IN SOMALIA
--------------------------------------

4. (SBU) FM Ali Jama Jangeli, one of several Canadian-Somalis
who have returned to their homeland to take up high office,
explained that the TFG was working on several fronts. First,
it is pushing a short-term political process focused of
reconciliation among the clans and factions, offering full
support to the UN Special Envoy and the national
reconciliation process that will unfold in July. Second, it

OTTAWA 00000737 002 OF 003


is moving ahead on institution-building, which needs the
support of the international community and of Somalis
themselves. Third, it aims to facilitate humanitarian aid,
which is getting more difficult to get into Somalia because
piracy is driving the price of food up and making shipments
more problematic. Fourth, the TFG has a long-term road map
to democratic governance, culminating with elections in 2009
under a new constitution. Underlying all of this, Jangeli
emphasized, was security, without which none of these key
pillars could yield success. He commented that all areas
need to move forward and that they are mutually reinforcing,
not sequential.

5. (SBU) Jangeli's message to the international community was
that "it is time to do what is right," and to Canada "we
need your help." He urged that foreigners not remain
paralyzed by frustrations over the well-meaning but failed
efforts at nation-building in Somalia of the 1990's,
suggesting that "the situation is different now." He urged
the Diaspora to reconcile, stating that it remains more
divided than Somalis in the homeland. Finally, Jangeli
pointed to progress that is taking place already in parts of
Somalia -- functioning markets, 15 radio stations, freedom of
the press, and numerous cell phones -- as reasons for
optimism. He said in conclusion that Somalis and
international partners must be united to help Somalia finally
to pull itself together.

SPECIAL ENVOY OULD-ABDALLAH URGES DIASPORA TO RETURN AND HELP
--------------------------------------------- ----------------

6. (SBU) Special Envoy Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah focused his
remarks via teleconference on what the Diaspora could do to
help in Somalia's reconstruction. He said that the role of
Somalis living abroad was significant to the local economy,
with remittances annually of about US$1 billion. He
expressed satisfaction with the recent Djibouti meeting,
which many did not believe would succeed. Ould-Abdallah said
that he was now focused on five objectives: to resolve local
disputes peacefully; to attempt to impose a cease-fire; to
organize UN peacekeeping support; to increase humanitarian
access; and, to seek longer term reconciliation through a
truth and reconciliation process. He urged the Diaspora not
to bring back to Somalia the divisions of their respective
communities, and told the participants they were still needed
in Somalia.

DAS SWAN ON U.S. OBJECTIVES IN SOMALIA
--------------------------------------

7. (SBU) DAS Swan described U.S. priorities in Somalia,
notably encouraging political dialogue and reconciliation,
strengthening development and humanitarian relief, and
facilitating full deployment of an African Union peacekeeping
force. He called upon the Diaspora to play a helpful role in
Somalia's reconstruction, and warned against the desire of
some elements to play the role of spoiler. Swan detailed
U.S. humanitarian support for Somalia and our continuing
support for peacekeeping efforts. He commented that there
would be a real danger of stagnation if the political process
were delayed, and urged the participants to support the
Qwere delayed, and urged the participants to support the
ongoing progress.

DG ANGELL ON CANADA'S ROLE
--------------------------

8. (SBU) Canadian DG for Africa David Angell highlighted the
statement of then-Foreign Minister Bernier regarding Somalia
on February 1, in which the FM urged a political solution to
end the violence and keep the humanitarian pipeline open. He
acknowledged U.S. leadership in the evolution of the Contact
Group, and offered support for ongoing mediation efforts
between the TFG and opposition in the interest of reducing
the power of the spoilers. Angell confirmed that Canada
remains engaged in Somalia in a variety of areas, including
humanitarian assistance, media projects promoting a free

OTTAWA 00000737 003 OF 003


press, and support for political reconciliation.

9. (SBU) In a separate meeting with DAS Swan, Angell said
that Canada was "keen to be more involved with the
Contact Group." He called a "Catch 22" situation that Canada
had not been invited to be a full member because it was not
doing more, but that he was not able to interest his
superiors to have Canada do more because it is not a member
of the Contact Group. He expressed the hope that, with the
recent reorganization of the Cluster Groups, Canada's
involvement could now be more robust. Angell said that he
believes the approach of Ould-Abdallah to work on the first
track with Somalis and then move to include the international
community makes sense.

10. (SBU) Comment: Canada has provided C$15 million in
humanitarian assistance to Somalia since 2006, and another
C$3.75 million in regional funding to UN agencies, making
Somalia one of the 25 countries that receive Canadian
assistance, albeit not as one of Canada's top priorities.
Canada would nonetheless like to stay engaged in Somalia for
moral and domestic political reasons, but knows it does not
have the resources or clout to be one of the key players.
Still, given Somalia's need for help working through the
thorny issue of federalism, writing a constitution, and
reconciliation and conflict resolution, Canada's expertise
could be useful.

Visit Canada,s Economy and Environment Forum at
http://www.intelink.gov/communities/state/can ada

WILKINS

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