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Cablegate: Somalia Un Amb Residence - Request to Remove

VZCZCXYZ0051
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUCNDT #0611 1912124
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 092124Z JUL 08
FM USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4573
INFO RUEHAE/AMEMBASSY ASMARA 1446

UNCLAS USUN NEW YORK 000611

SIPDIS

IO/UNP: S.EDMONDSON; L/DL: S. BENDA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OFDP PREL SO
SUBJECT: SOMALIA UN AMB RESIDENCE - REQUEST TO REMOVE
IMMUNITY

REF: 05 USUN NEW YORK 1205

1. The City of New Rochelle, NY, has contacted USUN/HC and
sent a letter to both OFM/NY and USUN/HC requesting
assistance to remove the diplomatic immunity from the Somalia
UN Mission official residence at 250 Elk Avenue (see text of
letter in para 2 and action request in para 5, below).

2. Begin text of July 3 letter from New Rochelle City
Manager Charles B. Strome, III:


"Re: Request of an immediate lifting of diplomatic immunity
to mitigate public safety hazards for Real Property Owned by
the Republic of Somalia at 250 Elk Avenue, Block 2111, Lot
50, City of New Rochelle, New York, 10801.

Dear Ms. Winton and Mr. Graham:

This communication is a request for your assistance in
getting the necessary approvals for lifting diplomatic
immunity for the City of New Rochelle to mitigate public
safety hazards at 250 Elk Avenue.

The City of New Rochelle has contacted your office to
facilitate correspondence to the Republic of Somalia for the
purposes of addressing Housing Code Violations, including
maintenance of an in-ground swimming pool with an inadequate
fenced area, broken windows, doors and other defects to
exterior structures, the abandonment of motor vehicle(s) and
vacancy of the residence. Furthermore, the property is
blighted with overgrown weeds, grass, and bushes. The police
were called to the residence on Sunday, June 29th due to a
report of trespassing. See attached violations with photos
as of June 2008.

The City has also received complaints from the Forest Heights
Neighborhood Association, and inquiry from U.S. Congresswoman
Nita Lowey's Office. Although we recognize that diplomatic
properties are normally considered inviolable, several
attempts to get compliance have not been successful.

Thank you for your time and consideration regarding this
matter. If granted permission, the City of New Rochelle will
secure the most hazardous conditions per advisement of our
Buildings Bureau with a report to your attention, including a
copy of our abatement bill to the Republic of Somalia." End
text.

3. This property has long been the subject of complaints
from the City and from neighbors. Per Reftel, following
similar complaints in 2005, USUN/HC met with then Somali
PermRep Hashi who requested the release of funds from the
sale of its Embassy in Washington to repair the property.
The property has been unoccupied since 2006. In April,
USUN/HC received photos alerting it to the continued neglect
of the property (sent to Department via email). USUN/HC
approached Somali DPR Idd Beddel Mohamed who was preparing to
leave NY to meet with government officials. He told USUN/HC
that he would seek permission to sell the property. There is
no evidence, however, that his requests have been successful
and he has suggested that the USG may be able to influence
the current government to act more quickly on the matter.

4. Meanwhile, the property continues to be a public safety
hazard and USUN/HC has also been informed that DPR Mohamed
has been interviewed by the NY Times for an article it
intends to publish on problems communities have with
diplomatic neighbors. USUN/HC recommends that Department use
its contacts with the Somali Government to encourage
immediate attention to secure the property and undertake the
actions required by New Rochelle, or to sell it since it has
been unable to maintain it safely for years.

5. ACTION REQUEST: USUN/HC seeks Department guidance on a
response to the urgent issues raised in the above letter.
Khalilzad

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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