Cablegate: Somalia: Holy See Urges Ngo Participation In

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.





E.O. 12958: N/A



Summary and Guidance Request

1. (SBU) The Holy See requested U.S. support in encouraging
the Government of Italy and other interested parties to
support the inclusion of the Italy-Somalia Forum for Peace
and Reconstruction in the Somali peace negotiations. In a
February 25 meeting with poloff, Vatican Country Director for
Somalia Lucio Sembrano described the current state of the
Somali peace negotiations as critical. Sembrano urged the
U.S. to reassure Ethiopia and Somalia's other neighbors that
a stable Somali government was in their best interest, and
that they should support the ongoing negotiations. We
understand that this reflects current USG policy. Please see
guidance request at para. 6. End Summary.

Vatican: Situation Urgent...

2. (SBU) Vatican Country Director for Somalia Lucio
Sembrano told us February 25 that the Holy See considered the
Somali peace negotiations to be at a critical juncture, and
requested U.S. support on two fronts. As an indication of
the urgency with which the Vatican sees the situation,
Sembrano noted that the Vatican had intended to have its
Foreign Minister raise the situation with the Ambassador, but
instead decided to contact poloff to convey the information
as soon as possible.

...and Precarious

3. (SBU) Both Sembrano and a non-paper he passed us (faxed
to AF/E and EUR/WE) noted the precarious state of current
negotiations, noteworthy progress notwithstanding. The Holy
See ascribes some of the difficulty in making further
progress to the exile of former Somali officials and
intellectuals over ten years ago. According to the Vatican
non-paper, this left the nation with a "total lack of human
resources and professional skills which are absolutely
necessary for the success of any lasting and sustainable
peace-making and reconstruction plan." With current plans
underway for appointments to a Somali parliament, the Holy
See believes now is the time to involve a wider array of such
people in the negotiating process.

Italy-Somalia Forum Should Have Role

4. (SBU) According to the Holy See, the Italy-Somalia Forum
for Peace and Reconstruction should have a role in the peace
talks and in negotiations on the development of Somalia's
transitional government. The Vatican's non-paper reports
that the Forum developed its own initiative to mediate among
the various groups participating in the talks -- a process
that showed great promise. The Forum has reportedly involved
and mobilized "the best intellectual and professional
Somali(s)," most of whom are living in exile. The Holy See
believes it could be a useful tool for the international
community in the reconstruction of Somalia, and concludes
that the Forum's involvement "cannot be postponed
indefinitely" and should be implemented in the shortest
possible time.

Holy See Requests USG Help

5. (SBU) The Holy See asked for U.S. assistance in two

-- According to Sembrano, the Government of Italy has been
lukewarm on the Forum's involvement in the Somali crisis.
The Holy See requests that the U.S. approach the GOI and
other relevant members of the international community to
encourage their support of Forum participation in the peace

-- The Holy See also encouraged USG contact with the
Government of Ethiopia to impress upon the GOE that Somali
reconstruction is in its own long-term interest. The Vatican
asked the USG to encourage the GOE and other Somali neighbors
not to disrupt Somali peace efforts. Post understands the
USG is already engaged on this front and is attempting to
work with the international community to address the GOE's
legitimate security concerns, while still making the point
that a stable government in Somalia will be good for Ethiopia
(ref a).

Guidance Request

6. (SBU) Post is attempting to get more information on
Forum membership and modus operandi from its leadership in
Rome that we will forward to Department (ref a). We are also
in contact with Embassy Rome on the issue (ref b). Post
requests guidance from Department to respond to the Holy See
on the two issues raised in paragraph 5.



2004VATICA00774 - Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

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