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Cablegate: Somalia - President Yusuf and Ambassador Discuss

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DE RUEHNR #2552/01 3100041
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O 050041Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
TO RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
INFO RUCNSOM/SOMALIA COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
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RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK IMMEDIATE 7407

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 NAIROBI 002552

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STATE FOR AF/E AND A/S FRAZER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL EAID PINS SO
SUBJECT: SOMALIA - PRESIDENT YUSUF AND AMBASSADOR DISCUSS
SECURITY AND TFG HARMONY

REF: A. NAIROBI 2469
B. DJIBOUTI 840

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SUMMARY
-------

1. (SBU) Summary: At a meeting with the Ambassador on the
eve of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development's
Somalia Summit (ref a), Transitional Federal Government
(TFG) President Abdullahi Yusuf welcomed, and pledged
support for the Djibouti Agreement's cease-fire and unity
government declaration (ref b). Citing the need for
improved security, Yusuf hoped the agreement might
encourage the UN soon to approve a PKO for Somalia. Yusuf
said the Ethiopians had troops on hand if needed, and
Kenya had promised to train Somali police and soldiers if a
donor would pay (Note: Kenya has asked the United States
to fund the training, but has not presented us with a
plan). He urged Washington to lobby Arab countries to fund
more international stabilization troops (UN or otherwise)
for Somalia. Yusuf said his dealings with Prime Minister
Nur Hassan Hussein had improved, but his relationship with
Parliamentary Speaker Sheikh Aden Mohammed Nur "Madobe"
had deteriorated over parliament's reaction to the
August Addis Ababa agreement. End Summary.

YUSUF SUPPORTS DJIBOUTI AGREEMENT, HOPES FOR INT'L TROOPS...
--------------------------------------------- ---------------

2. (SBU) On October 26, Ambassador met with TFG
President Yusuf on the eve of the IGAD summit in Nairobi
(ref a). The Ambassador stressed that the IGAD summit's
outcome should complement the cease-fire and unity
government agreements reached in Djibouti (ref b).

3. (SBU) President Yusuf said the news from Djibouti was
indeed good. He worried, however, that "opposition
moderates," i.e., ARS, couldn't control al-Shabaab (Note:
Possibly showing his age, or disconnectedness, Yusuf
struggled to recall the name of the opposition ARS,
or Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia, and had to
be prompted by his staff). Al-Shabaab would try to prevent
the Djibouti Agreement's implementation, he said, but he
predicted the Somali people would support peace. He
promised to attend future rounds of TFG - ARS peace talks.

4. (SBU) Ever the fighter, President Yusuf said he needed
more troops to deal with al-Shabaab. Prime Minister Meles
allegedly had promised 5,000 more, if needed. Yusuf also
hoped African countries would volunteer more troops for
AMISOM. Yusuf noted positively Kenya's offer to train
10,000 Somali police and soldiers (Note: The Government of
Kenya has asked the United States to fund the training.
Despite repeated requests, including by the Ambassador,
Kenya has yet to produce a training program and budget
for us to review). Yusuf suggested Washington lobby Arab
countries, specifically Libya and Qatar, to support AMISOM
and Ethiopian troop increases, or to pay for a UN force.
He hoped the cease-fire might speed UN consideration of a
peace-keeping force and a change in AMISOM's mandate, so
it could play a greater stabilizing role.

...BUT TFG LEADERS STILL SQUABBLING
-----------------------------------

5. (SBU) Yusuf said his relationship with Prime
Minister Nur Hassan Hussein had improved since the two
signed an agreement in Addis Ababa in August.
However, Yusuf criticized Speaker of Parliament
Nur for allowing parliament to challenge reinstatement of
10 cabinet members, as agreed in the Addis accord. Yusuf
said the Speaker had acted like a "dictator" for defying
a lawfully reached agreement, the constitution, and
Transitional Federal Charter.

COMMENT
-------

6. (SBU) Comment: President Yusuf appeared at ease and in
good health, though he told us he would travel to London on
November 3 for regularly scheduled medical treatment. The

NAIROBI 00002552 002.2 OF 002


Ambassador encouraged him to return to Mogadishu as soon as
possible to support the cease-fire. Yusuf's support for
the Djibouti Agreement is critical to its success. Yusuf
probably sees a successful cease-fire both as a means to
isolate al-Shabaab and as a step closer to the arrival of
international troops. We asked Yusuf to work better with
the Speaker of Parliament; we've subsequently learned from
our contacts that his relationship with the Prime Minister
may not as amiable as Yusuf indicated. End comment.
RANNEBERGER

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