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Cablegate: Somali Islamic Courts Delegates in Khartoum Express

VZCZCXYZ0008
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHKH #1542/01 1801421
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 291421Z JUN 06
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3488

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 001542

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

STATE FOR AF/SPG/, AF/E

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV PINR SO SU
SUBJECT: SOMALI ISLAMIC COURTS DELEGATES IN KHARTOUM EXPRESS
HOPE FOR OPENING TO U.S.

REF: KHARTOUM 01477

1. (SBU) SUMMARY. At a chance meeting in Khartoum on June
24, Somali delegates of the Islamic Courts movement asked
Emboff to convey their views to the U.S. Government. They
argued that, despite perceived U.S. hostility, they were not
anti-American, and actually wanted, above all, to open
contact with the USG. They expressed appreciation for U.S.
support for the Khartoum-brokered ceasefire, and hopes that
the U.S. would be officially involved when they return for
further talks in mid-July. Denying terrorist links, they
repeatedly asked for a U.S./Western fact-finding mission to
come to Mogadishu to verify the situation there. One
delegation members said they were ready "to forgive and
forget." They are "crying for help," another said. END
SUMMARY.

Union of Islamic Courts Delegates Seek USG Contact
--------------------------------------------- -----

2. (SBU) Embassy officer was seated with a Somali-American
friend, businessman Ali Aden, on June 24 at the Hilton
Hotel, when they were joined by several members of the
Somali Islamic Courts delegation to the Arab League talks
then concluded in Khartoum. They said they wished to make
their views known to an American official.

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3. (SBU) The Courts delegation members present were:
delegation leader, Prof. Mohamed Ali Ibrahim; Dahir Mohamed
Ghelle, said to work in the Somali radio; Ali Addalla Toyo;
and Omar Aden Mohamed Ghadi, British-educated and
Westernized in manner, said to specialize in foreign
contacts for the group.

14 Failed Conferences Later, UIC Builds Popular Support
--------------------------------------------- ----------

4. (SBU) The Head of delegation, Mohamed Ali Ibrahim,
emphasized the Courts' security concerns. For the past 15
years, he said, they have been torn by violent inter-
factional conflicts; they have had 14 national conferences,
all of which failed. The Interim Government that issued
from the Nairobi Conference is warlord-controlled but very
weak, he said, controlling only a small territory. The
Islamic Courts, in contrast, are a traditional institution,
focused on law and order, and have won widespread popular
support.

UIC Seeks to Cooperate with USG, Restore Stability
--------------------------------------------- -----

5. (SBU) The current warlord coalition claims U.S. support,
Ibrahim said, in an alliance against alleged terrorists in
Mogadishu, which has been bombarded. To fight terrorism,
however, there is a need for government, courts, security.
That, he said, is their concern. They want to restore the
education and health facilities that have been destroyed,
disarm militias, and combat piracy and trafficking. They
are "ready to cooperate with the U.S. and other countries."
They hope that potential foreign partners will change their
minds.

6. (SBU) Ibrahim said they had had no other contacts with
U.S. officials, apart from sending several letters that have
gone unanswered. They have heard of the U.S. expression of
support for the Khartoum ceasefire agreement, and are "very
grateful" for that. There is a follow-up meeting here on
July 15. The U.S. has backed creation of a Contact Group,
and they appreciate this initiative. They are looking for
U.S. signals that it wants direct contact - they hope for
this.

UIC Hopes Khartoum Talks Lead to New Government
--------------------------------------------- --

7. (SBU) This theme was strongly echoed by Omar Aden Mohamed
Ghadi, after the other three delegates withdrew. The
delegation had met with many embassies in Khartoum, he said,
including the German ambassador, and the Courts delegates
had repeatedly asked to be put in touch with the U.S. They
expect the July 15 meeting to give rise to a new government,
perhaps incorporating a few persons from the current
Transitional Government. It will be a pivotal time, when
the U.S. should be present and play a guiding role. They
really want the Americans to be there, he said.


8. (SBU) The two other members of the group, Ali Addalla
Toyo and especially Dahir Mohamed Ghelle, seemed more
guarded. Both noted more negative feelings towards the U.S.

in Somali in recent years, with Ghelle pointing to the
suffering caused by U.S. restrictions on informal money
transfers (barakat) and various Islamic charities, and by
U.S. support for the warlords. At the same time, when the
U.S. restrained Ethiopia from attacking recently, crowds
"demonstrated in favor of Bush." It is "time for a new
U.S. policy," Ghelle said. On their side, they "can forgive
and forget."

USG Should Come to Mogadishu and See Situation First-Hand
--------------------------------------------- ------------

9. (SBU) Toyo acknowledged and appealed to American
principles of justice and rights. If the U.S. has
suspicions of terrorism, they should come to Mogadishu and
inspect. If U.S. money could be put to investigations and
to cooperation instead of to arms, it could solve the
situation there, he said. They hope for a breakthrough in
relations with the U.S. because of this contact tonight.

HUME

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