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Cablegate: Somalia - Telcon with Ngrc Chairman Ali Mahdi

VZCZCXRO9798
OO RUEHDE RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHNR #3281 2261436
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 141436Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1729
INFO RUCNSOM/SOMALIA COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS NAIROBI 003281

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/E AND A/S FRAZER

E.O. 12958 N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL SO
SUBJECT: SOMALIA - TELCON WITH NGRC CHAIRMAN ALI MAHDI

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Special Envoy spoke with National
Governance and Reconciliation Council Chair Ali Mahdi by
telephone August 14 to obtain update on National
Reconciliation Congress. Mahdi confirmed that
reconciliation portion of proceedings were "successfully"
completed August 9 and that political phase would commence
by week?s end. Contrary to what we had heard from Prime
Minister Gedi, no ceremonial interlude is projected between
NRC social and political reconciliation phases. END SUMMARY

2. (SBU) Mahdi told Special Envoy that he had intended to
reconvene the NRC to begin the political agenda points on
August 16, following the recess permitting the Secretariat
to prepare reconciliation papers for signature. The Hawiye
Ugas from Hiran, however, had requested waiting until
Saturday, August 18 to permit more time for intra-Hawiye
reconciliation. Mahdi indicated that he probably would do
so if the Ugas plan seemed reasonable.

3. (SBU) Consideration of political agenda items would
require one to two weeks by Mahdi's projections, perhaps
finishing as early as August 25, but more likely August 30.
In any case Mahdi intends to finish NRC proceedings before
the beginning of Ramadam in mid-September although, if
necessary, that date could be exceeded as the important
goal is to complete the work for the return to Somali
democracy, not end by a specific date.

4. (SBU) Among the political issues on NRC agenda are
preparation for a census, guidelines for establishing a
multi-party system, immediate appointment of a Constitution
drafting committee, referendum and elections by 2009. The
operative decisions on these items would be in the form or
recommendations for TFG enactment. While the foregoing are
all part of the Roadmap to Governance, Reconciliation and
Dialogue, Mahdi also volunteered that the oft-mentioned
amendment to the Transitional Federal Charter to permit
more openness in Ministerial appointments. This would
eliminate the TFC requirement that Ministers must be
Members of Parliament.

5. (SBU) In answer to Special Envoy's inquiry, Mahdi said
the current delegate count is "closed" at 2,605 or almost
double the original figure. Given much speculation and
concern that some of the important clan leaders were still
not participating, Chairman Mahdi, claimed such was not the
case; that all the important ?Sultans? were on board. He
did ask, however, if we could help encourage some of the
Asmara dissidents to join. According to him, the NGRC has
been reaching out directly and through intermediaries in
the diaspora to the Asmara group, including ex-CIC,
proposing a meeting in Djibouti. Thus far, however, no the
NGRC had not responded to the invitation no proposed any
list of potential participants.
Ranneberger

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