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Cablegate: Securing Permanent Observer Status for Canada And

VZCZCXYZ0050
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHC #1993 2212318
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O P 092311Z AUG 07
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA IMMEDIATE 0000
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO IMMEDIATE 0000
RUEHDR/AMEMBASSY DAR ES SALAAM IMMEDIATE 0000
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON IMMEDIATE 0000
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI IMMEDIATE 0000
RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO IMMEDIATE 0000
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME IMMEDIATE 0000
RUEHSM/AMEMBASSY STOCKHOLM IMMEDIATE 0000
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS IMMEDIATE
INFO RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA PRIORITY 0000
RUEHYN/AMEMBASSY SANAA PRIORITY 0000

UNCLAS STATE 111993

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS
AMEMB ADDIS PLEASE PASS TO USAU

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV SO
SUBJECT: SECURING PERMANENT OBSERVER STATUS FOR CANADA AND
YEMEN IN THE INTERNATIONAL CONTACT GROUP ON SOMALIA

1. (U) This is an action request, please see paragraph 2.

OBJECTIVES
----------

2. (SBU) Posts are asked to approach host governments and
regional organizations to pursue the following objective:

-- Seek agreement for Canada and Yemen to be granted
Permanent Observer status in the International Contact Group
on Somalia (ICG) prior to the next meeting, currently
scheduled for September 10 or 11 in Rome.

3. (SBU) For Nairobi, please seek agreement from the
Government of Kenya on behalf of the Intergovernmental
Authority on Development (IGAD). For Cairo, please seek
agreement from the Arab League.

4. (U) For additional information and background regarding
U.S. support for Canadian and Yemeni participation as a
permanent observer to the ICG, please see paragraphs 8-10.

BACKGROUND
----------

5. (SBU) The International Contact Group on Somalia (ICG) was
established in June 2006 for members to share views on the
current situation and future prospects in Somalia, engage
with the Transitional Federal Institutions (TFIs) on progress
in Somalia, and agree to a set of key actions for ICG
partners to deliver or promote which are designed to help
stabilize Somalia and advance the political process and
transitional period. The ICG is committed to help bring
about a safe and stable environment for the political
transition and reconciliation process. The United States is
a founding member (with Norway) of the ICG and sees it as a
key mechanism to ensure coordinated efforts to advance the
political process and stabilize the security situation in
Somalia.

6. (U) Current member states in the ICG are the United
States, the European Union (Presidency and Commission),
Italy, Kenya, Norway, Sweden, Tanzania, and the United
Kingdom. The African Union, Intergovernmental Authority on
Development (IGAD, represented by the Government of Kenya),
League of Arab States, and the United Nations participate as
permanent observers in the ICG. Canada recently participated
as an observer at the ICG meeting on June 5-6, 2007 in
London, while Yemen has participated as an observer since
February. Both Canada and Yemen have expressed a strong
interest in becoming a permanent member of the ICG.

7. (SBU) In May, the Canadian Foreign Minister wrote to
Secretary Rice requesting U.S. support for Canada's

SIPDIS
membership in the ICG. Due to our strong bilateral
partnership, Secretary Rice has personally endorsed Canadian
membership in the ICG. The ICG discussed the possibility of
admitting new members at the London meeting in June. While
the U.S. was prepared to open the membership to allow Canada,
Yemen, and other interested parties to join, the UK surprised
most members of the ICG by insisting that the group not admit
any new members in order to prevent compromising its
effectiveness with additional members. However, we believe
that Canada and Yemen are uniquely placed to make significant
contributions to the ICG and help advance ICG objectives.

IF ASKED ) JUSTIFICATION FOR PERMANENT OBSERVERSHIP
--------------------------------------------- ------

8. (SBU) CANADA: Canada was a positive and constructive
participant in the London ICG meeting in June and recently
joined the International Advisory Committee (IAC) for the
National Reconciliation Congress based in Nairobi, Kenya, and
is an active member of the Somalia Donor Group. Since April
2005, Canada has provided approximately $23.5 million to the
UN, Red Cross and Canadian NGOs in support of humanitarian
assistance initiatives in Somalia and the region, responding
to drought, flooding and increased insecurity due to
conflict. This includes Somalia assistance in response to
the 2007 appeals from humanitarian partner organizations.
Canada has also increased its support for small-scale, local,
development-oriented projects for Somalia and is exploring
funding for counterterrorism capacity-building initiatives.

9. (SBU) Canada also has important diplomatic ties to the
region, including strong bilateral relations with Kenya and
Ethiopia. Canada's contributions to the stabilization and
peace processes in the region, including Sudan and Uganda,
provide Canada with valuable experience and insight that
could be applied to the situation in Somalia. Canada also has
strong linkages to its Somali diaspora community, estimated
at up to 200,000. Many Somali-Canadians maintain strong
links to Somalia and occupy positions in the TFIs or are
prominent members of the business community, media
representatives, or civil society in Somalia. Canada is also
seen as neutral by all regional players and thus could play
an important role in facilitating dialogue and advancing ICG
initiatives.

10. (SBU) YEMEN: Located directly across the Gulf of Aden
from Somalia, Yemen has strong economic, political, and
cultural ties to Somalia, as well as strong bilateral ties
with other countries in the Horn of Africa sub-region,
including Djibouti and Ethiopia. In addition to several
thousand Somali refugees, Yemen is host to a large Somali
diaspora population, many of whom have business ties to
Somalia. Due to its strong bilateral relationship with the
TFIs and its status as a member of the League of Arab States,
Yemen is uniquely placed to help mediate between Somali
factions, as evinced by Yemen's successful mediation between
Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf and former Speaker of
Parliament Shariff Hassan Sheikh Adan in January 2006. Yemen
is an active member of the IAC based in Nairobi and has
constructively participated as an observer in previous ICG
meetings, including Tanzania in February, Cairo in April, and
London in June. Yemen's unique perspective and ability to
engage with a wide range of Somali interlocutors would help
facilitate dialogue and advance ICG initiatives.

REPORTING DEADLINE
------------------

11. (U) Please report results of this effort via
front-channel cable to AF/E Nole Garey by August 31. Please
include Embassy Nairobi as info addressee.

POINT OF CONTACT
----------------

12. (U) Please contact AF/E Nole Garey at (202) 647-8284 or
via e-mail for any further background information or
argumentation to meet our objectives. For USAU, John Kelley
has cleared this cable.
RICE

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