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Cablegate: Arab League Against Permanent Observer Status For

VZCZCXRO4366
RR RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHKUK RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHEG #2680 2421212
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 301212Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6721
INFO RUCNSOM/SOMALIA COLLECTIVE
RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS CAIRO 002680

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

AF/E FOR GAREY

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV EG SO
SUBJECT: ARAB LEAGUE AGAINST PERMANENT OBSERVER STATUS FOR
CANADA AND YEMEN IN SOMALIA CONTACT GROUP

REF: SECSTATE 111993

Sensitive but unclassified, please protect accordingly.

1. (SBU) Poloff discussed reftel demarche with Samir Hosni,
head of the Arab League Office of African Affairs, on August
30. Drawing from reftel, poloff argued that including Canada
and Yemen as Permanent Observers to the International Contact
Group on Somalia (ICG) would increase the ICG's ability to
develop a coordinated, international policy on Somalia and
better engage with the parties to the conflict. Hosni was
surprised that poloff raised the issue, saying he thought
that "the matter was closed" (in other words, the issue would
not be raised again), in accordance with the British position
at the last ICG meeting against including new Permanent
Observers. Hosni argued that Egypt, South Africa, and the
OIC are also playing important roles in resolving the Somali
conflict, and that they must also be granted Permanent
Observer status in order for the League to support granting
that status to Canada and Yemen. However, he said, the
League would prefer not to re-open discussion of adding new
Permanent Observers at all, and continue the practice of the
host country inviting observers to ICG meetings as the host
sees fit.

2. (SBU) Hosni also gave poloff a preview of a draft
resolution on Somalia, to be discussed at the upcoming
September 4 Arab League Ministerial in Cairo. The
resolution, he said, would reaffirm League support for the
Somali National Reconciliation Conference (NRC), call on
member states to further fund the NRC, and call for the NRC
to be "all inclusive." Asked whether the League supports
including the disbanded Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) as a
specific group in the reconciliation process, Hosni replied
only that the League is calling on all parties to engage in
the political process "without preconditions."
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