Cablegate: Somalia: Behind the Scenes of Uk Support To
DE RUEHLO #2084 2211559
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 081559Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY LONDON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9459
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI PRIORITY 0396
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L LONDON 002084
EMBASSY NAIROBI FOR SOMALIA SECTION
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/08/2018
TAGS: PREL PGOV PBTS PINR SO UK
SUBJECT: SOMALIA: BEHIND THE SCENES OF UK SUPPORT TO
Classified By: Political Counselor Richard Mills, reasons 1.4 (b/d).
1. (C/NF) Following his mid-June visit to Somaliland, FCO Minister of State Kim Howells began questioning HMG's decision not to recognize Somaliland and started advocating internally for HMG to give greater support to Somaliland, according to FCO Somalia Research Analyst Cedric Barnes. Barnes said on August 8 he finds it highly unlikely that the UK would "unilaterally recognize" Somaliland, but that he would not be surprised if HMG becomes more proactive in its support to the unrecognized republic. In Barnes' estimation, HMG would find it too "diplomatically difficult" to recognize Somaliland because it would "annoy" many of the neighboring countries and potentially de-stabilize the Transition Federal Government (TFG) and Djibouti Agreement.
2. (C/NF) According to Barnes, Howells wrote to Foreign Secretary David Miliband upon his return from Somaliland, speaking in glowing terms about the "brilliant progress" that had been made in Somaliland, questioning HMG's policy of non-recognition, and advocating for more support. Barnes also said that the British Embassy in Addis Abba, which covers Somaliland, has long argued for HMG's recognition of Somaliland. Miliband, "taken by Howells' strong support," requested that the FCO's Africa Directorate review the policy and provide advice. The Africa Directorate pushed back aggressively, saying that recognition of Somaliland had the potential to de-stabilize the TFG and to unravel the Djibouti Agreement because of the strong nationalistic sentiments among the clans and movements in south Somalia.
3. (C/NF) MP for the Welsh constituency of Pontypridd (in greater Cardiff), Howells represents a large number of Somalilanders, whose strong historic and business ties to Wales date back to the days when Somaliland was a British Protectorate. He, along with fellow Labour MP for Cardiff South and Penarth Alun Michael, have been long time advocates for Somaliland. In addition to drawing political attention to Somaliland through the Parliamentary All Party Group on Somaliland, they have succeed in drawing UK development funding to Somaliland and providing more secure ways for Britain-based Somalis to send an estimated GBP 2.3 billion (USD 4.6 million) in remits to their families in Somaliland.
4. (C/NF) There is no evidence to indicate that HMG will recognize Somaliland as an independent nation, especially with HMG officials focused on promoting a foreign policy that will help stabilize south Somalia and support the Djibouti Agreement. However, it is clear that the well organized Somaliland Diaspora in the UK have captured the attention of some key political figures and have an important and noticeable influence on HMG policies on Somalia. Visit London's Classified Website: XXXXXXXXXXXX