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Cablegate: Somalia - President Yusuf Criticizes Unity

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OO RUEHDE RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHNR #2702/01 3371624
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O 021624Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7789
INFO RUCNSOM/SOMALIA COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEPVAA/COMJSOC FT BRAGG NC IMMEDIATE
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC IMMEDIATE
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RHMFIUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL IMMEDIATE
RHMFIUU/CJTF HOA IMMEDIATE
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RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK IMMEDIATE 7415

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 NAIROBI 002702

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR AF/E AND A/S FRAZER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR SO ET
SUBJECT: SOMALIA - PRESIDENT YUSUF CRITICIZES UNITY
GOVERNMENT PLANS

REF: A. NAIROBI 2681
B. NAIROBI 2673

1. (SBU) Summary: Transitional Federal Government President
Yusuf called Special Envoy Yates on December 1 to condemn the
proposals from the November 26 Djibouti meetings (ref A) as
"unworkable." He also complained about Ethiopian troops'
alleged recent actions at Villa Somalia and stated that
Ethiopian withdrawal from Somalia without a replacement force
to fill the vacuum would amount to handing Somalia to
al-Shabaab. The Special Envoy noted that the November 26
proposals represent a starting point, and encouraged Yusuf to
engage in the process rather than exclude himself. On the
Villa Somalia complaint, Yusuf seemed to accept S/E Yates'
assessment that lower-level officers had probably acted out
of turn. Regarding Ethiopian withdrawal, S/E Yates reminded
Yusuf of ongoing efforts to establish a force to replace the
Ethiopians, and once again encouraged Yusuf to constructively
engage in the Djibouti process. End summary.

--------------------------------------------- --
Parliament of 550 "Unreasonable and Unworkable"
--------------------------------------------- --

2. (SBU) Transitional Federal Government President Abdullahi
Yusuf called Special Envoy Yates on December 1 from Puntland,
where Yusuf has been since the November 26 peace talks in
Djibouti. Yusuf condemned the Djibouti proposal of a
550-member parliament as "unreasonable and unworkable," and
an "international coup d'etat" opposed by every Somali "here
in Puntland." Yusuf said Somalia is a small country with no
money to pay so many MPs, and claimed that expanding the
parliament was unconstitutional. He reiterated that he did
not believe implementation of Djibouti proposals was possible.

3. (SBU) S/E Yates replied that the Djibouti November 26
document was simply a communique from the UN Secretary
General's Special Representative (SRSG) spelling out
proposals agreed to by the High Level Committee. It
established a working group to flesh out the proposals within
thirty days. S/E Yates noted that the number of MPs was
indeed high and that the Transitional Federal Charter (TFC)
would have to be amended before a unity government could be
created and installed.

4. (SBU) S/E Yates, mindful that Yusuf sees the latest
Djibouti proposal as a move toward a Hawiye-only government,
said that his conversations with the talks' participants,
including with the Government of Djibouti, indicated a
commitment to maintain the 4.5 formula for selection of new
MPs. He reminded Yusuf of Yusuf's own statements, to the USG
and in public fora, of his support for the Djibouti process
and encouraging the President's engagement, rather than
estrangement from the process. S/E Yates also pointed out
that without continued progress on creating a unity
government, and possible extension of the TFC as proposed,
that the TFG mandate risked expiring in nine months with
nothing accomplished. Finally, S/E Yates noted that during
the latest Djibouti meetings the Prime Minister had tried to
reach Yusuf in Nairobi to hear his views and seek his
support, but that Yusuf had refused to take the calls.

-----------------------------
ENDF Entry into Villa Somalia
-----------------------------

5. (SBU) Yusuf also registered concern over the Ethiopian
troops' alleged November 30 entry into Villa Somalia,
confiscation of five vehicles mounted with heavy guns and
detention of Presidential Guard (PG) officers. Yusuf called
the event a "hostile act" and a violation of international
law. Yusuf wondered aloud about the USG's relationship with
the GOE, but did not overtly imply USG complicity in the
event. S/E Yates informed Yusuf that the USG had no prior
knowledge of the alleged Ethiopian behavior. Further, S/E
Yates noted that the Ethiopian actions had been reversed
after a few hours with vehicles returned and the PG officer
released. He speculated that the quick reversal suggested
that the confiscation had been the product of a decision by
lower-level officers and not a directive from Addis. Yusuf
seemed to accept that explanation of the events.

NAIROBI 00002702 002 OF 002

--------------------
Ethiopian Withdrawal
--------------------

6. (SBU) Finally, Yusuf asserted that if Ethiopia
unilaterally withdraws as threatened by the end of January,
Somalia will effectively be "delivered to al-Shabaab." S/E
Yates agreed that no one wanted an al-Shabaab takeover, and
relayed to Yusuf some of the information from the recent
Joint Security Committee meeting in Naivasha, Kenya (ref B),
including the Committee's plans to stand up a joint TFG/ARS
contingent, an idea of which Yusuf seemed not to have been
aware. S/E Yates once again urged Yusuf's cooperation in the
political and security reforms that would contribute to
success.

-------
Comment
-------

7. (SBU) Yusuf seemed grateful for the opportunity to discuss
his concerns with S/E Yates, and seemed somewhat assuaged at
the end of their conversation. Embassy is actively monitoring
Yusuf's actions and is working directly and indirectly with
Yusuf to minimize the any potential ability he may possess to
disrupt the Djibouti process.
RANNEBERGER

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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