Cablegate: Security Council Looks to Get Active On Somalia

DE RUCNDT #0668/01 2072253
O 252253Z JUL 08



E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: In consultations on July 23, several
Security Council members echoed the U.S.'s call for a more
detailed briefing from DPKO on peacekeeping scenarios by
August 15. Council members voiced concern over the size,
mandate and composition of a potential force, and the options
presented by DPKO in its upcoming briefing will likely shape
Council members' thinking going forward. Special
Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG) for Somalia,
Ahmed Ould Abdallah, AU Peace and Security Commissioner
Ramtane Lamamra and Somali Foreign Minister Ali Ahmed Jana
briefed the Council, and were unanimous that the Council
should authorize an international security force to seize the
opportunity presented by political progress in Somalia. End

2. (U) In an open briefing on July 23, SRSG Ould Abdallah
called on the Council to take "bold, decisive and fast
action" to show its commitment to improving the situation in
Somalia. The SRSG argued that increased international
security assistance was essential in order for the
humanitarian situation to improve. Ould Abdallah praised the
Djibouti Agreement between the Transitional Federal
Government (TFG) and the opposition Alliance for the
Reliberation of Somalia (ARS), signed in Djibouti on June 9,
2008 and singled out the Security Council's visit to Djibouti
as "one of the most important contributions" that convinced
the parties to commit to a negotiated solution. He proposed
that the international community seize the opening provided
by the Agreement to approve a new international security
force, which he said would help marginalize groups that
refused to renounce violence. The SRSG also urged the
Council to review UNSC sanctions lists and with a view to
delisting leaders who had committed themselves to peace.

Council members speak out in support of UN action:
--------------------------------------------- -----

3. (SBU) In closed consultations Ambassador Khalilzad framed
the debate by stating that the United States supports the
Somali PM's call for a UN force and asking for further input
from DPKO on security assistance scenarios by August 15.
Other delegations seconded this suggestion, with the Chinese
representative stating that his government "fully shares" the
U.S. view and looks forward to seeing a workable plan from
the Secretariat to capitalize on the political success of the
Djibouti Agreement. Italy spoke in support of AMISOM's
rehatting as a UNPKO with an initial focus on Mogadishu.
Italy said it would be important to hear from DPKO before the
beginning of AMISOM renewal negotiations and stated that only
a UNPKO could encourage NGOs to return to Somalia.

4. (SBU) Libya encouraged the Council to respond to the AU's
call for a UNPKO and urged planning now so that AMISOM could
be enhanced and folded "seamlessly" into a PKO when the time
was right. Burkina Faso stressed that the UN's credibility
in Africa was at stake, urging the Council to "urgently" take
over AMISOM and "immediately" deploy a UNPKO in order to
exploit the opportunity created by the political process.
South Africa spoke in favor of a force that would allow
Ethiopian troops to withdraw, but emphasized that careful
planning was necessary. Vietnam advocated early deployment
of a UNPKO while Costa Rica said that the international
community should assume its responsibilities by authorizing
an international security force.

Europeans wary of UNAMID repeat:

5. (SBU) Other delegations were more cautious in their
statements, though none ruled out the possibility of an
international force. The UK lamented that Somalia had for
too long languished in the UN's "too-difficult tray," but
cautioned that the current situation of political progress
amid increasing instability did not bode well for an
increased UN presence on the ground. The UK stressed the
need for realism, saying that on Somalia, the Council needed
"serious military advice of the type we lacked on UNAMID."
Any peace force would be intended to replace the Ethiopians,
the UK Ambassador said, and should be equipped for the type
of counter-insurgency fight the Ethiopians are now waging.
France said that it could support an international
stabilization force under UN mandate, but that a full-fledged
PKO would need careful planning from DPKO. The French
indicated that one possibility they could support would be an
operation with a "geographically limited mandate" focusing on
the Mogadishu region and aimed at restoring a UNDP presence
in Somalia.

6. (SBU) Russia said that it was important to consider the

USUN NEW Y 00000668 002 OF 002

AU's request and to prevent a potential security vacuum
following the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops, but stressed
that the parameters and configuration of a potential PKO
needed to be carefully considered. Indonesia, occasionally
mentioned as a potential troop contributing country for a
Somalia operation, said that the AU's request should be
urgently considered, but that careful planning would be
required, including the identification of potential troop
contributors. Indonesia went onto say that AMISOM should
remain at the core of any future force. Croatia supported a
"measured and gradual" approach to a stabilization force,
while the Belgian ambassador quoted the Secretary-General's
report as stating that deployment of a stabilization force
would only be possible if the Djibouti Agreement were
implemented seriously.

7. (SBU) The SRSG responded to Council statements, expressing
his concern that "Somalia is being punished for the
misbehavior of its leaders in the 1990s" as well as his
belief that the Djibouti Agreement represents real political
progress reflective of the will of the overwhelming majority
of Somalis. He said he was skeptical of DPKO's planning,
particularly in light of its estimate that a PKO could
require 28,000 peacekeepers, saying that such numbers were
designed to "scare the Council." Ould Abdallah also gave his
private opinion that the international community had for too
long prioritized humanitarian assistance to Somalia while
neglecting the security situation. The dirty secret of
humanitarian aid, he said, is that no NGO can deliver aid in
Somalia without paying warlords for protection. Thus, money
given for aid is ultimately used to buy weapons and sustain
the power of the warlords in Somalia. The SRSG said that
international security assistance would be necessary in order
to break this cycle, stabilize the security situation and
allow political progress to take root.

Somali, AU push the Council forward:

8. (U) In the Council's open briefing, AU Peace and Security
Commissioner Ramtane Lamamra echoed Ould Abdallah's call for
the Council to seize the window of opportunity offered by the
Djibouti Agreement to authorize a PKO. Failure to do so
could allow spoilers to undermine progress, he said. To
emphasize the opportunity offered by the agreement, Lamamra
drew attention to the fact that two members of the ARS were
included in the Somali delegation on the Council floor.
While praising AMISOM for its recent force generation
successes, Lamamra described it as grossly inadequate to the
challenge at hand. He called for a UN takeover of AMISOM to
allow the focus of the operation to extend beyond Mogadishu,
including a strong naval component to project power and
safeguard aid shipments.

9. (U) The Somali Foreign Minister Ali Ahmed Jana also gave a
short briefing, in which he reminded members that the UNSC
had been "seized of" the situation in Somalia since early
1992 and expressed the hope that the cause of a UNPKO for
Somalia would receive "a major push" at this meeting. In
light of the unprecedented reconciliation of the Djibouti
Agreement, Jana said that all parties in Somalia were now in
agreement that a UN authorized stabilization force was the
best hope of the Somali people's 17-year suffering coming to
an end. Jana took noted exception to DPKO's projections,
claiming that the 26,000-strong force proposed by the
department was "not feasible or necessary." The FM told the
council that a much smaller force could be effective in
reasonable circumstances, and that AMISOM should be the
nucleus of any future force.


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