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Cablegate: Positive Interactions with Keren Leaders During

VZCZCXRO0680
RR RUEHROV
DE RUEHAE #0343 1890733
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 070733Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY ASMARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9768
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUMICEA/JICCENT MACDILL AFB FL
RUEPADJ/CJTF-HOA J2X CAMP LEMONIER DJ

UNCLAS ASMARA 000343

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/E
LONDON AND PARIS FOR AFRICA WATCHERS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV SOCI ER
SUBJECT: POSITIVE INTERACTIONS WITH KEREN LEADERS DURING
RECENT FIELD TRAVEL/HEALTH FAIR

1.(U) Ambassador met with the recently elected Keren mayor,
Tekie Kelati, on June 28 following the Health Fair held
earlier that day (septel). Kelati, who has thus far been in
office 55 days, laid out a six-point development plan for the
city, focusing on: water security, capacity building,
environmental protection, interconnectivity with other
government entities, food security, and creating an overall
master plan. Kelati additionally mentioned plans to rebuild
the railroad from Keren towards Asmara. Before serving as
the mayor of Keren, Kelati served as a zoba (regional)
administrator in Gash Barka.

2. (U) Emboffs found the Keren authorities and community
leaders (mayor, zoba administrator, doctors, youth leaders)
to be motivated, engaged, and eager to work with the Embassy
despite the steady stream of anti-USG propoganda to which the
Eritrean populace is continuously exposed. Community leaders
freely approached Emboffs with suggestions for future
collaborative events and repeatedly expressed their
appreciation for USG presence and cooperation in Keren.

3. (U) Keren is a major city located approximately 56 miles
NW of Asmara with a population of 90,000. The city is a
major hub for both the Bilen and Tigre ethnicities, with the
majority of the people speaking either Tigre or Bilen. As
Keren has greater access to Sudanese trade routes, both legal
and contraband, Keren's local shops are noticeably larger and
better stocked with goods than those in Asmara. Embassy
personnel maintain regular quarterly contact with the
community in Keren via the American Corner, which is
colocated with the public library.

4. (SBU) COMMENT: In line with reports from other donor
missions and UN organizations, Post finds that local
administrators are more willing to work with the Embassy on
community events and programs than their Asmara-based
ministerial counterparts. The Keren Health Fair proved a
success because of the buy-in of Keren's local leaders, not
through any assistance of the central government. End
Comment.
MCMULLEN

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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