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Cablegate: Usau: June 11-12 Meeting of Igad Council Of

R 070628Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 1191
INFO AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS ADDIS ABABA 001825


AF/FO, AF/RSA FOR JKELLEY AND WHALDERMAN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV EAID AU
SUBJECT: USAU: JUNE 11-12 MEETING OF IGAD COUNCIL OF
FOREIGN MINISTERS

1. SUMMARY: On June 11-12 the Foreign Ministers of the
Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) convened in
Addis for their twenty-seventh Ordinary Session. The meeting
was chaired by Kenya, co-chaired by the Italian Ambassador,
and addressed by Ethiopia's Minister of Foreign Affairs, the
IGAD Executive Secretary, the UN Economic Commission for
Africa, the African Union, and a representative of the
Norwegian government. Two messages were clearly and directly
delivered -- it is time to set the IGAD house in order and
deal with the security challenges in the region (Sudan,
Somalia, Eritrea-Ethiopian border and Eritrea-Djibouti and
incidentally, Chad) and the solutions to the problems in the
IGAD region are not to be found in Washington, London and
Brussels but in Africa. END SUMMARY.

2. Ethiopia's Foreign Minister opened the meeting warning of
the emerging challenges in the region and concluding regional
states are making insufficient progress in addressing them,
with the result they are making inadequate progress in
development. He noted that new crises potentially undermined
fragile advances, and linked oil prices, climate change, and
stagnation in agriculture to instability that threatened to
marginalize the IGAD region for the future. He characterized
IGAD as "one of the weakest links in regional economic
integration on the continent" and urged the ministers to
address the challenges. Elaborating, he called on all member
states to take responsibility, singling out Eritrea as a
primary spoiler in the region, and warning that Eritrea's
June attack on Djibouti should not be taken lightly. He
concluded congratulating the outgoing IGAD Executive
Secretary, noting this is a critical juncture for the region,
and pleading with the ministers to make unity and solidarity
more than a slogan.

3. The Kenyan Foreign Minister, outgoing chair, pointed to
IGAD successes, citing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement
(CPA) in Sudan and the Transitional Federal Government in
Somalia, although he enjoined the Somalis to embrace peace,
noting the IGAD partners could help but could not supply
internal political will. Speaking of AMISOM, he urged
partners to offer financial support to potential Troop
Contributing Countries (TCC), asserting if the Partners could
find fifty million dollars to intervene in Yugoslavia in the
1990s, surely they could find resources to support the AU
mission in Somalia. He stressed, however, that African
problems do not have solutions in Washington, London or
Brussels. He welcomed Louis Michel, who addressed the
meeting, but made clear African leaders would deal with the
European Union not on EU terms but their own. (FYI: This is
a reference to 2007 when the EC announced a Horn of Africa
strategy initiative without consultation with IGAD. END FYI)
He too, identified Eritrea (which has temporarily withdrawn
from IGAD) as quarrelsome and troublesome.

4. Attalla Hamad Bashir, the outgoing Sudanese Executive
Secretary of IGAD, reflected on his eight years at the helm
of the organization, citing both challenges and achievements.
One challenge is financial. Bashir urged member states to
pay their assessed dues. He suggested that going forward
member states create national steering committees for
regional programs and development cooperation. He urged
that IGAD position itself strategically to work closely with
the African Union, other regional economic communities (RECs)
and other development partners.

5. COMMENT: The discussion at the IGAD Summit will continue
on the margins of the African Union Summit at
Sharm-el-Sheikh, where a protocol for cooperation with the AU
of the RECs, and the and modalities for its implementation
will be the subject of a side meeting. The communique from
the IGAD Heads of State meeting on June 14 (reported SEPTEL)
echoes that regional instability is fueled particularly by
Sudan, Somalia and Eritrea, that instability marginalizes the
IGAD region, and that it is the responsibility of leaders of
the states of the region to come together to negotiate
solutions to the instability. END COMMENT.

YAMAMOTO

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