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Cablegate: Somalia - Prime Minister, Speaker, Media React To

VZCZCXRO7157
PP RUEHDE RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHNR #2891/01 3651522
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 301522Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8088
INFO RUCNSOM/SOMALIA COLLECTIVE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHMFIUU/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 NAIROBI 002891

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/E

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PINR SOCI SO
SUBJECT: SOMALIA - PRIME MINISTER, SPEAKER, MEDIA REACT TO
YUSUF'S RESIGNATION

REF: NAIROBI 2879

1. (SBU) Summary: In remarks to the media following
Transitional Federal Government (TFG) President Yusuf's
December 29 resignation (reftel), the TFG Prime Minister and
Speaker offered generally muted praise to the President for
leaving office and thanks to the international community for
the role it has played. Alliance for the Re-liberation of
Somalia (ARS) Chairman Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed made no
public comment about Yusuf's resignation. An aide ascribed
Sheikh Sharif's silence to the lack of a suitable forum in
which to comment. The Somalia media were generally reserved,
reporting the facts of the address to Parliament with only a
bit of anti-Yusuf commentary. End summary.

Prime Minister and Speaker Offer Diplomatic Praise
--------------------------------------------- -----

2. (SBU) In remarks to the media in the hours following TFG
President Abdullahi Yusuf's December 29 resignation (reftel),
TFG Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein Nur Adde offered only
muted praise for the former President. Hussein hoped Yusuf
"would become a Somali elder who will play a substantial role
in the peace process and the country's development," and
termed his resignation a giant step along the road toward
democracy. Hussein assured the Speaker of his complete
support as he supervised the transition to a new president,
and urged other TFG officials, the militias, and the public
to continue to work for reconciliation.

3. (SBU) In a press conference immediately after escorting
Yusuf to the Baidoa airport December 29, Speaker of
Parliament Sheikh Aden Madobe seemed more focused on a
potential security vacuum than the President's resignation.
Madobe asked the public to remain calm and hoped, with the
support of the international community, that Yusuf's
departure would not trigger "chaos." Madobe promised that no
one would be victimized during the transition period.
(Reports from Baidoa suggest that Madobe remains preoccupied
with security: he spent most of December 30 huddled with
security and law enforcement representatives.) In comments
to BBC later December 29, Madobe praised Yusuf for
voluntarily relinquishing power, unlike "other African
statesmen."

Sheikh Sharif Silent
--------------------

4. (SBU) Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS)
Chairman Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed to date has remained
silent on the issue of Yusuf's resignation. An aide to
Sheikh Sharif in Mogadishu told us December 30 that there had
not yet been an appropriate opportunity to comment, and that
the ARS leader did not want to force the issue. In an
interview published the day of Yusuf's resignation, but
probably conducted earlier, Sheikh Sharif defended the ARS's
alliance with the TFG, without mentioning the conflict
between the President and the Prime Minister.

Somali Media Generally Reserved
-------------------------------

5. (SBU) Somali media outlets, often not bashful with their
commentary, generally stuck to the facts of the resignation.
Most articles and reports repeated the details of the address
to Parliament and submission of the resignation letter, and
several reviewed details of Yusuf's nearly-40-year career in
the Somali military and politics. One outlet described the
genesis of Yusuf's resignation as "a vinegary power struggle
in the country's beleaguered transitional government" and
asserted that Yusuf "made no tangible progress" while
President. An editorial on a Somali website stated that,
"Disagreements and public squabbling between the President
and the Prime Minister led to the resignation of the
President after he was pressured by an international
community which saw him as an obstacle to peace." Another
media outlet noted that, "(Yusuf's) close alliance with the
Ethiopian military alienated many Somalis who consider the
Ethiopians as occupiers."

Comment
-------

6. (SBU) Neither the Prime Minister nor the Speaker offered
the more extensive praise that we had urged in the days
preceding the President's resignation. Their long struggle
with Yusuf seemed to have left Hussein and Madobae unable to

NAIROBI 00002891 002 OF 002


use the opportunity to reassure jittery members of Yusuf's
circle as the TFG begins an effort to create a unity
government with members of the ARS.
RANNEBERGER

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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