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Cablegate: Inaugural Meeting of Friends of Au Easbrig Forum

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHNR #4749/01 3480818
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 140818Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3871
INFO RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 9735
RUEHDJ/AMEMBASSY DJIBOUTI 4954
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2446

UNCLAS NAIROBI 004749

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

ADDIS ABABA FOR AU AMBASSADOR COURVILLE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: MARR MASS PREL KE XW
SUBJECT: INAUGURAL MEETING OF FRIENDS OF AU EASBRIG FORUM

1. (U) THIS IS AN ACTION MESSAGE. ACTION REQUEST AT PARA 7.

2. (U) SUMMARY: AT THE INVITATION OF THE AFRICAN UNION'S
EASTERN AFRICA STANDBY BRIGADE COORDINATION MECHANISM
(EASBRICOM), CURRENT AND POTENTIAL DONORS MET IN NAIROBI ON
DECEMBER 10 TO DISCUSS EASBRIG'S STRATEGIC PLAN AND THE TERMS
OF REFERENCE FOR THE NEW "FRIENDS OF EASBRIG" FORUM. EMBASSY
NAIROBI DCM SLUTZ AND ASSISTANT ARMY ATTACHE BUCHHOLZ
ATTENDED, JOINED BY CJTF-HOA COMMANDER ADMIRAL HART AND POLAD
NEWTON. UGANDA DEFENSE MINISTER AND CHAIRPERSON OF THE
EASBRIG COUNCIL OF MINISTERS RUTH NAKABIRWA DELIVERED OPENING
REMARKS TO URGE DONOR BUY-IN AND ASSISTANCE, FOLLOWED BY A
BRIEFING FROM EASBRICOM DIRECTOR (UGANDA) SIMON MULONGO ON
THE STRATEGIC PLAN'S OBJECTIVES AND TIMELINE. THE UK, ACTING
AS THE CHAIR FOR THE FRIENDS, CO-CHAIRED THE MEETING WITH
EASBRIGCOM. IN SHORT, AU-EASBRICOM PLANS TO STAND UP AN
"INITIAL OPERATING CAPABILITY OF A TRAINED FORCE OF BRIGADE
SIZE ON STANDBY AND MAINTAINED IN MEMBER STATES TO THE
REQUIRED READINESS LEVELS BY THE END OF 2010." TO ACHIEVE
THIS, EASBRICOM SEEKS ASSISTANCE FROM DONORS, AND MULONGO'S
BRIEFING OUTLINED SPECIFIC AREAS FOR DONOR CONSIDERATION.
SEVERAL FRIENDS/DONORS AROUND THE TABLE (NOTABLY THE UK,
CANADA, THE NETHERLANDS, AND NORWAY ON BEHALF OF THE NORDIC
BATTLE GROUP) NOTED CURRENT AND FUTURE PLANS TO ASSIST
CERTAIN ASPECTS OF THE PLAN. MOST DONORS/FRIENDS, INCLUDING
THE U.S., ASKED QUESTIONS, INDICATED INTEREST, BUT MADE NO
SPECIFIC COMMITMENT. U.S. PARTICIPANTS NOTED THAT CURRENT USG
LAW PROHIBITS SECURITY ASSISTANCE TO MULTI-LATERAL, REGIONAL
SECURITY ORGANIZATIONS BUT THAT WASHINGTON WAS EXPLORING
LEGAL AUTHORITIES THAT WOULD PERMIT ASSISTANCE TO
ORGANIZATIONS LIKE EASBRICOM. PARTICIPANTS DISCUSSED THE
DRAFT TERMS OF REFERENCE FOR THE FRIENDS OF EASBRIG FORUM AND
COMMITTED TO SEEKING HOME OFFICE APPROVAL. END SUMMARY.

2. (U) ON DECEMBER 10, REPRESENTATIVES OF NAIROBI-BASED
MISSIONS OF CANADA, DENMARK, FRANCE, GERMANY, ITALY, THE
NETHERLANDS, NORWAY, SPAIN, SWEDEN, THE UK, U.S., SOUTH
AFRICA, AND THE EU; CJTF-HOA, THE GERMAN ASSISTANCE
ORGANIZATION GTZ, THE FRIEDRICH EBERT STIFTUNG, AND THE
(SOUTH AFRICAN) INSTITUTE FOR SECURITY STUDIES ATTENDED A
BRIEFING AND TOUR OF THE EAST AFRICAN STANDY BRIGADE COMMAND
IN KAREN/NAIROBI, KENYA. (NOTE: JAPAN WAS INVITED BUT DID
NOT ATTEND.) THE PURPOSE OF THE MEETING WAS TO INTRODUCE
EASBRICOM AND ITS STRATEGIC PLAN TO CURRENT AND POTENTIAL
DONOR PARTNERS. UGANDA DEFENSE MINISTER AND CHAIRPERSON OF
THE EASBRIG COUNCIL OF MINISTERS (OF DEFENSE AND SECURITY)
RUTH NAKABIRWA, WHO CAME TO NAIROBI SPECIFICALLY TO ADDRESS
THE FORUM, DESCRIBED THE OVERALL AFRICAN UNION VISION AND
MISSION: TO CONTRIBUTE TO REGIONAL AND CONTINENTAL PEACE
THROUGH A REGIONAL CONFLICT PREVENTION, MANAGEMENT AND
RESOLUTION CAPABILITY ABLE TO RESPOND EFFECTIVELY TO CRISIS
ANY WHERE ON THE CONTINENT." SHE NOTED THAT BY JUNE 2008,
THE NECESSARY POLITICAL DECISION MAKING STRUCTURES THAT CAN
AUTHORIZE, MANDATE AND OVERSEE THE EMPLOYMENT OF REGIONAL
CAPABILITY SHOULD BE IN PLACE. (NOTE: THE NEXT MAJOR STEP IN
ESTABLISHING THE LEGAL FRAMEWORK WILL BE THE JANUARY 2008
MEETING OF CHIEFS OF DEFENSE STAFFS IN COMOROS.)

3. (U) EASBRICOM DIRECTOR SIMON MULONGO DESCRIBED IN GREATER
DETAIL THE OBJECTIVES OF EASBRIG, FORMALLY AUTHORIZED AND
ESTABLISHED IN 2005. THE EASBRIG COORDINATION MECHANISM
(EASBRIGCOM) WAS OPERATIONALIZED IN MARCH 2007 TO SERVE AS
THE SECRETARIAT OF EASBRIG. EASBRICOM AND THE EASBRIG
PLANNING ELEMENT (PLANELM) ARE LOCATED IN NAIROBI.
ENCOMPASSING THIRTEEN (13) COUNTRIES, EASBRIG IS ONE OF THE
FIVE REGIONAL COMMANDS WITHIN THE AFRICAN UNION'S
CONTINENT-WIDE AFRICA STANDBY FORCE (ASF) CAPABILTY THAT IS
ENVISIONED TO BE OPERATIONAL BY 2015. THIS CAPABILITY WILL
CONSIST OF NOT ONLY MILITARY, BUT ALSO POLICE AND CIVILIAN
COMPONENTS. THE AU'S ROADMAP ANTICIPATES A CONTINENTAL
COMMAND POST EXERCISE IN LATE 2010 TO VALIDATE THIS
CAPABILITY. IN ORDER TO MEET THIS ROADMAP, THE REGIONS WILL
BE REQUIRED TO CONDUCT THEIR OWN VALIDATION PROCESS AND
EASBRIG'S TARGET IS TO HAVE INITIAL OPERATIONAL CAPABILITY BY
THE END OF 2010. MULONGO OUTLINED IN SOME DETAIL THE SPECIFIC
ASSISTANCE REQUIREMENTS REQUIRED TO ACHIEVE ITS 2010 TARGET;
AMONG THE TOP PRIORITIES WERE DEVELOPING/TRAINING CIVILIAN
AND POLICE CAPABILITY, ADMINISTRATION, LOGISTICS, AND
COMMUNICATIONS. (COPIES OF THE EASF STRATEGIC DEVELOPMENT
PLAN AND THE EASBRIG STRATEGIC DEVELOPMENT PLAN WILL BE
POUCHED TO AF/RSA.)

4. (U) BOTH NAKABIRWA AND MULONGO WERE CLEAR ABOUT THE
CHALLENGES FACING EASBRIG: AN INCREASE IN REGIONAL INTERNAL
CONFLICT; LACK OF FUNDING; SHORTFALL IN REGIONAL CONTRIBUTION
TO THE FORCES; AND LACK OF COMPREHENSIVE POLITICAL,
DIPLOMATIC AND MILITARY REGIONAL COHESION. IN RESPONSE TO A
QUESTION ABOUT THE PROGRESS OF REGIONAL INTEGRATION,
NAKABIRWA NOTED THE SLOW BUT STEADY PROGRESS BUT ADMITTED
THAT CONSIDERABLE DISTRUST REMAINED BETWEEN CERTAIN COUNTRIES
THAT NEEDED TO BE ADDRESSED WITH CONFIDENCE BUILDING
MEASURES. ASKED ABOUT EASBRIG'S OVERLAP WITH IGAD, NAKABIRWA
ACKNOWLEDGED THAT THERE WAS SOME DUPLICATION BUT STRESSED
THAT EASBRIG'S MEMBERSHIP IS LARGER (13 VERSUS 7) AND ITS
MISSION VERY DIFFERENT.

5. (U) DURING THE SUBSEQUENT TOUR D'HORIZON OF THE
FRIENDS/DONORS, SEVERAL COUNTRIES, NOTABLY THE UK, INDICATED
THEY ARE ALREADY PROVIDING CONSIDERABLE ASSISTANCE. OTHERS
(THE NETHERLANDS, SWEDEN ON BEHALF OF THE NORDIC BATTLE
GROUP, GERMANY/GTZ, CANADA, AND NORWAY) NOTED INTENTIONS TO
CONTRIBUTE IN SOME CAPACITY. (NOTE: MULONGO CLAIMED THAT
JAPAN HAS INDICATED WILLINGNESS TO ASSIST WITH POLICE
TRAINING.) NAIROBI DCM SLUTZ DESCRIBED U.S. BILATERAL
SECURITY ASSISTANCE TO EASBRIG MEMBER STATES, INCLUDING A
BATTLE SIMULATION CENTER TO THE KENYAN INTERNATIONAL PEACE
SUPPORT TRAINING CENTER. CJTF-HOA COMMANDER ADMIRAL HART
NOTED THE ASSIGNMENT OF A LIAISON OFFICER TO THE BRITISH
PEACE SUPPORT TRAINING CENTER TO ASSIST WITH PREPARATIONS FOR
THE NOVEMBER 2008 COMMAND POST EXERCISE. BOTH NOTED THAT
LEGAL AUTHORITIES ARE REQUIRED -- AND UNDER CONSIDERATION IN
WASHINGTON -- TO PERMIT SECURITY ASSISTANCE TO MULTI-LATERAL,
REGIONAL ORGANIZATIONS SUCH AS EASBRIG.

6. (U) THE UK CHAIR ON BEHALF OF THE FRIENDS INTRODUCED THE
DRAFT TERMS OF REFERENCE FOR THE FRIENDS FORUM. TWO ITEMS
WERE FURTHER CLARIFIED: THE CHAIR WILL BE PROVIDED BY THE
FRIENDS AND WILL ROTATE ON AN ANNUAL BASIS. (CANADA PROPOSED
AND THE GROUP AGREED THAT THE UK SHOULD CHAIR FOR THE FIRST
YEAR.) THE FRIENDS WILL MEET WITH EASBRICOM IN A FORUM AT
LEAST EVERY SIX MONTHS IN NAIROBI, WITH THE OPTION OF
ROTATING THE VENUE AMONG OTHER MEMBER STATES. WORKING GROUPS
ON TECHNICAL ISSUES WILL BE ESTABLISHED AS DESIRED, IN
NAIROBI. THE GROUP FELT THAT NAIROBI, BECAUSE IT HAS THE
GREATEST NUMBER OF DIPLOMATIC AND MILITARY MISSIONS
REPRESENTING THE FRIENDS IN THE REGION, SHOULD BE THE MAIN
VENUE FOR THE MEETINGS.

7. (U) PARTICIPATING MISSIONS WERE ASKED TO OBTAIN APPROVAL
FOR THE TERMS OF REFERENCE FOR THE "FRIENDS OF EASBRIG" BY
EARLY 2008. A COPY OF THE CURRENT DRAFT WILL BE FAXED TO
AF/RSA. EMBASSY NAIROBI REQUESTS APPROVAL OF THE TERMS OF
REFERENCE AS WELL AS GUIDANCE ON FUTURE U.S. ENGAGEMENT,
INCLUDING SECURITY ASSISTANCE, WITH EASBRICOM.

RANNEBERGER

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