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Cablegate: Second Friends of Easbrig Meeting Shows Continued

VZCZCXRO0107
PP RUEHROV
DE RUEHNR #1365/01 1551533
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 031533Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5952
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA PRIORITY 0099
RUEHDR/AMEMBASSY DAR ES SALAAM PRIORITY 5989
RUEHDJ/AMEMBASSY DJIBOUTI PRIORITY 5282
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA PRIORITY 2826
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 2830
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 2755
RHMFIUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/CJTF HOA PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/CDR USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 NAIROBI 001365

SIPDIS

ADDIS ABABA FOR AU AMBASSADOR COURVILLE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: MARR MASS PREL KEAI XW
SUBJECT: SECOND FRIENDS OF EASBRIG MEETING SHOWS CONTINUED
DONOR INTEREST

REF: A. USADAO NAIROBI 271341Z MAY 08
B. 07 NAIROBI 4749

1. This is an action message. Action request at para 11.

-------
Summary
-------

2. The Eastern African Standby Brigade (EASBRIG) hosted its
second "Friends of EASBRIG" meeting on May 22 (ref B
described the first). The meeting was notable for its
increased participation and the level of detail EASBRIG was
able to provide in terms of their progress toward meeting the
eight goals on its strategic plan. As one of five standby
forces in the African Union (AU), EASBRIG is doing
comparatively well in terms of its development and
organization, but much more work needs to be done if it is to
be operational by 2010 as mandated by the AU. The Government
of Kenya on May 23 formally signed a host agreement for the
EASBRIG Coordinating Mechanism (EASBRICOM), but the EASBRICOM
Director noted that it would take at least another year or
two before EASBRIG's Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) would
become a pact to be endorsed and ratified by the governments
of member states. The "Friends" agreed that they need to
harmonize assistance to the organization, and agreed to
reconvene on the margins of the June G8 meeting (NFI) in
Addis Ababa. U.S. support to EASBRIG is limited by the
absence of a Presidential Determination, but support in the
form of bilateral assistance to EASBRIG member countries and
regional institutions does provide an avenue for support.
End Summary.

--------------------------------
New "Friends" Join Old "Friends"
to Discuss EASBRIG's Progress
--------------------------------

3. On May 22, the Eastern African Standby Brigade (EASBRIG)
hosted its second "Friends of Easbrig" meeting, inviting
donor countries, universities, and NGOs alike. The meeting
was joined by both old friends (i.e, Canada, Denmark, France,
Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, the UK, U.S.,
South Africa, the EU, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of
Africa (CJTF-HOA), the Freidrich Ebert Shiftung, and the
Institute for Security Studies), but also some new friends,
including Finland, the Hans Seidel Foundation, the Nordic
Battle Group, and the Multinational Standby High Readiness
Brigade for Operations (SHIRBRIG). (Note: Japan and Russia
were invited and are interested in contributing to EASBRIG
but were not in attendance. There was also a name plate at
the meeting table for China, but their Political Counselor
later told us that they had not received the invitation. End
Note.) The U.S. was represented by Acting PolCouns, Deputy
DATT, and CJTF-HOA (including CJTF's HOA's USAU liaison
officer).

4. Simon Mulongo, the Director of the EASBRIG Coordination
Mechanism (EASBRICOM), gave the group an overview of the
progress made toward the organization's ambitious eight-point
strategic plan. The organization, he noted, has got to start
out at a run in order to meet the African Union (AU) deadline
of operationalization by 2010. Member states are starting to
pay their annual dues, and two meetings in March -- one for
Chiefs of Defense Staff in Comoros, and the other for
Ministers of Security and Defense in Kampala -- helped
solidify regional support. The eight points are noted below:

- The existence of cohesive political structures that can
mandate and oversee EASBRIG
- Establishment of a Command, Control, and Communications
mechanism by the end of 2008
- Initial operational capability of one standby brigade by
2010
- Police element on standby by the end of 2010
- Roster of trained civilians available for deployment by the
end of 2010
- The development of a logistic system that can sustain the
force by 2010
- Integrated regional training system in place by the end of

NAIROBI 00001365 002 OF 003


2010
- Efficient (and adequately resourced) administrative
structures to support EASBRIG

5. While there has been progress on some fronts (a harmonized
policy framework is finished, the standby headquarters staff
has been identified, a Norwegian police advisor and a
civilian planning officer are both in place), there is still
work to be done in others (finalizing the mandate process,
finding funding for upcoming training events and other
standup needs).

--------------------
Regionally Speaking,
EASBRIG is On Track
--------------------

6. In comparison to other standby forces in the African
Union, Mulongo explained, EASBRIG is doing well. While the
Economic Community of West African States' standby force
predates any other in the AU, they are not organized
according to the new AU standards. In fact, EASBRIG
personnel are scheduled to evaluate ECOWAS's Command Post
Exercise scheduled for August/September 2008, Mulongo said.
The Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS)
conducted command post and field exercises in Chad and the
Central African Republic last year, but they need to revisit
their structure now in light of new AU requirements. They
are setting their sights on next year and are looking to
EASBRIG for guidance, Mulongo said. The South African
Development Community's standby force (SADC) still lacks a
standing headquarters element but their memorandum of
understanding (MOU) was finally signed in August 2007, far
after EASBRIG's was done. Finally, the North African Standby
Brigade has not yet completed its MOU (three of eight members
have signed). While the organization's headquarters are in
Libya, they are still operating out of a hotel.

---------------------------
More Formalized Agreement
Still A Way Off for EASBRIG
---------------------------

7. In response to a question from Acting PolCouns about the
prospects for strengthening EASBRIG's existing MOU into
something more substantial, Mulongo said that EASBRIG's
intent is to move eventually from an MOU to a pact, which
would be endorsed and ratified by governments (as opposed to
heads of state, which is the basis of the current MOU). He
said that forward movement on EASBRIG's status must happen
only when the level of comfort among member states is
reached. Mulongo estimated that the next step would not be
taken for at least a year or two.

8. Mulongo highlighted, however, that the Government of Kenya
was scheduled to sign the EASBRICOM host agreement on May 23,
formalizing the organization's headquarters arrangement.
(Note: The Government of Kenya has previously signed a
hosting agreement for EASBRIG's Planning Element. The new
hosting agreement for EASBRICOM was indeed signed as
scheduled by Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula on May 23. End
Note.)

--------------------------------
Donors Want to Harmonize Support
--------------------------------

9. After Mulongo's presentation of current and future EASBRIG
needs, the focus shifted to each of the "Friends" who, in
turn, described their level of support to EASBRIG. (Note: For
a summary of donor support to EASBRIG, see ref A. End Note.)
Acting PolCouns reiterated U.S. bilateral support to EASBRIG
member states, to the International Peace Support Training
Center, and through CJTF-HOA liaison officers. She also
noted that the requisite legal authority to support EASBRIG
more systematically had still not been approved in
Washington. In the meantime, however, the U.S. would
continue to provide support through existing legal
mechanisms.


NAIROBI 00001365 003 OF 003


10. After the donor presentation, donors discussed the need
to harmonize their support. With the as-yet-unfunded Command
Post Exercise scheduled for November, the group agreed to
organize the next "Friends" meeting in Addis Ababa in early
June (date TBD) on the margins of the G8 meeting (NFI) to
discuss progress on donor commitments and to harmonize
efforts. Alternate venues for the next regular "Friends"
meeting, scheduled for November 2008, were discussed,
including Djibouti and Addis Ababa. There seemed to be
consensus around holding the next meeting in Nairobi to
coincide with the command post exercise so that the "Friends"
could see EASBRIG's Planning Element at work.

11. Post has been in contact with AF/RSA regarding the
limitations to/possibilities of supporting EASBRIG in the
absence of an appropriate Presidential Determination (PD).
Post has also sent via diplomatic pouch a collection of
EASBRIG founding documents to aid in deciding whether a PD is
warranted at this time. Post will forward to AF/RSA via
e-mail EASBRIG's detailed strategic plan, including specific
requests for assistance. ACTION REQUEST: Please advise on
potential areas for U.S. engagement/support for EASBRIG,
including routing support through other legal mechanisms,
such as the AU (which was authorized in a 2004 PD to receive
defense articles and services under the Foreign Assistance
Act).
RANNEBERGER

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