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Cablegate: Algerian Commitment to Amisom Comes From the Top

VZCZCXRO5571
PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMA RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN RUEHTRO
DE RUEHAS #1338 3631501
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 281501Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY ALGIERS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6786
INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA PRIORITY 0009
RUEHJB/AMEMBASSY BUJUMBURA PRIORITY 0011
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI PRIORITY 0080
RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA PRIORITY 0067
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 2983
RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID PRIORITY 9145
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA PRIORITY 0766
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY

UNCLAS ALGIERS 001338

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV KPKO SO AG
SUBJECT: ALGERIAN COMMITMENT TO AMISOM COMES FROM THE TOP

REF: SECSTATE 134421

1. (SBU) Ambassador delivered reftel demarche on December 28
to Kamel Rezag-Bara, Counselor to President Abdelaziz
Bouteflika for Counter-terrorism. He thanked Rezag-Bara for
Algeria's commitment to provide ten aircraft to transport
African Union member troops into Somalia, and stressed the
urgency of having the aircraft ready as early as possible
given the planned January 5 withdrawal of Ethiopian forces
from Somalia.

2. (SBU) Rezag-Bara responded that President Bouteflika was
personally committed to empowering the African Union to
manage security on the continent. In this regard, Rezag-Bara
explained that Algeria's commitment went beyond the ten
aircraft it had provided to support AMISOM. He noted the
recent meeting of African Union chiefs of staff in Tripoli,
at which agreement was reached to establish an African Union
"standby force" that would be coordinated via five separate
regional groups. Rezag-Bara said that from the countries
that attended the Tripoli meeting, Algeria was selected to be
the overall coordinator of this effort, and would be
providing training and equipment to help create this standby
force.

3. (SBU) COMMENT: Rezag-Bara understood the timeline. He
noted that Algeria was going to be coordinating via the
African Union, but also took pride in Algeria's regional role
on African security within the context of the AU. Bouteflika
himself has long seen engagement in Africa as a key part of
his legacy. Algeria is therefore likely to do the necessary
if AMISOM troops are ready for transport on an accelerated
timetable.
PEARCE

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