Cablegate: Egyptian Mfa Addresses Piracy and Somalia

DE RUEHEG #1618 2321436
P 201436Z AUG 09

C O N F I D E N T I A L CAIRO 001618



E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/20/2019

REF: A. STATE 85758
B. STATE 86567 C. STATE 79853 Classified By: Minister Counselor for Economic and Political Affairs Donald A. Blome for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).
1.(C) Key Points: -- The Government of Egypt (GoE) generally supports the concept of "participation" in the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS), but wants it to be "controlled" to exclude certain countries. -- Deputy Assistant Foreign Minister for East Africa Affairs Abdelhameed Marzouk said it was "logical" for Egypt to prosecute the eight pirates captured by Egyptian fisherman in the re-taking of Samarah Ahmed and Momtaz

1.He will convey the USG request to prosecute the pirates, but said the decision will be made at more senior levels in the government, such as Iran. -- The GoE did not pledge any money for the TFG at the Somalia Donors Conference in Brussels, but instead pledged to provide 20,000 uniforms and training to the Somali security forces. --------------------------------------- Egypt Supports "Participation" in CGPCS ---------------------------------------

2.(C) Deputy Assistant Foreign Minister for East African Affairs Marzouk, said on August 20 that the Government of Egypt (GoE) generally supports the idea of participation in the CGPCS, but wants it "controlled." (reftel A). He was aware this approach was needed to deal with the case of Cyprus' participation in the CGPCS. Marzouk was extremely pleased when we told him that it would be inappropriate to invite Iran to participate in the CGPCS since Iran is subject to UNSC country-specific measures for maritime-related misconduct. He said this caveat was important to Egypt. -------------------------------- Prosecution of Pirates "Logical" --------------------------------

3.(C) Marzouk brimmed with pride when we mentioned the self-rescue by the fisherman of the Samarah Ahmed and Momtaz

1. He said the fisherman had "nothing to lose" because the GoE refused to pay a ransom to the pirates, and had discouraged the ship owners from doing the same. Marzouk had met personally with the families of the men to explain the GoE position and assured them that the MFA and Egyptian intelligence were using "diplomatic means" to negotiate with the pirates for the release of the men. Marzouk told us the fishing boats had stopped in the town of Suez for some minor repairs and were now transiting the Suez Canal. He understood there were eight captive pirates on board the ships. We conveyed to Marzouk the USG's desire for Egypt to prosecute these pirates (reftel B). He agreed this was "logical," and would set a precedent that would increase the GoE's credibility. Marzouk assured us he would immediately convey this message to FM Aboul Gheit and advise us when he received a response. ------------------- Support for the TFG -------------------

4.(C) Marzouk represented Egypt at the Somalia Donors Conference in Brussels in April 2009. He said the GoE had not pledged any money, but had pledged to provide 20,000 uniforms and training to the Somali security forces (reftel C). Marzouk said Egypt had completed a training program for the TFG presidential guard force. He did not know whether uniforms had been sent, but promised to get us a list of what projects the GoE had carried out to support the TFG. He was interested in the agreement between the TFG and PricewaterhouseCoopers, and said Egypt is still committed to helping Shaykh Sharif and the TFG. However, he said currently it is "too dangerous" to have people "on the ground." The GoE is looking for ways to encourage peace negotiations among the "moderate elements" of all factions, and it will be involved in reconstruction once the conflict is over. Tueller

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