Cablegate: Embassy Cairo

DE RUEHEG #1787/01 2581019
P 151019Z SEP 09



EGIS CHIEF SOLIMAN AND U.S. AFRICA COMMAND DISCUSS SUDAN AND SOMALIA Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Matthew H. Tueller for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).
1.(C) Key Points -- Egyptian General Intelligence Services (EGIS) Chief Omar Soliman told a senior African Command delegation that an independent South Sudan would result in war and tribal conflicts that would flood Egypt with refugees. --Soliman suggested that either the U.S. and Egypt should lobby for unity or the referendum should be postponed to avoid the creation of a "failed state" in South Sudan. Alternatively, Cairo is working to convince both Khartoum and Juba that a two-thirds referendum majority should be required for separation and all Southerners, including those in Khartoum and the South Sudanese Diaspora, should be allowed to participate in the referendum. -- Soliman said Egyptian efforts to resolve the Darfur crisis are aimed at improving Sudan-Chad relations, unifying Darfur rebel groups, and addressing humanitarian concerns. Soliman said a resolution to the crisis is "near." -- On Somalia, Soliman said Egypt is working with Ethiopia and the Arab League to support Shaykh Sharif and the TFG. The Government of Egypt (GoE) is also engaging with Eritrea to facilitate rapprochement between Shaykh Sharif and Shaykh Aweys and to weaken the Al Shibaab. It also has plans to assist with the reintegration of Puntland and Somaliland into the country and address economic development issues to combat piracy. End Summary.

2.(SBU) Egyptian General Intelligence Services (EGIS) Chief Omar Soliman on September 7 told an Africa Command delegation including Ambassador Vicki Huddleston, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (DASD) and Vice Admiral (VADM) Robert Moeller, Deputy Commander of U.S. African Command, that Egypt's primary concerns in Africa are Sudan, particularly CPA issues and Darfur, and Somalia. --------------------------------------------- ---- Egyptian Plans for Encouraging the Unity of Sudan --------------------------------------------- ----

3.(C) Soliman expressed concern that the South Sudanese leadership and people will vote for independence in January 2011 and do not understand the "consequences of separation." Soliman asserted an independent South Sudan would result in war that would flood Egypt with refugees as occurred during the previous North-South civil war. He also stated the South would be mired in tribal conflict because southern tribes would not accept "Dinka domination" and a border would be seen as an attempt to divide the Misseriya tribe and limit access to traditional grazing lands. Soliman maintained that South Sudan is not viable because it lacks essential infrastructure such as roads, schools and hospitals, cannot provide for its own security, is so corrupt that it has squandered USD 7 billion in oil revenues since the CPA was implemented, and would need to pay a large percentage of future oil revenues to Kenya to guarantee access to the port of Mombasa.

4.(C) Soliman suggested three options for avoiding a "failed state" in South Sudan. He said the referendum could be postponed for 4-6 years until the "capacity for statehood" could be developed. Second, Soliman stated that the CPA could be amended to give South Sudan autonomy for 10 years and afterwards it could decide for federation or independence. Finally, he suggested that Egypt and the U.S. could push Southern leaders to support a unified Sudan. Soliman said it was the responsibility of Southern Sudanese leaders to educate the populace on the pros and cons of separation. He said if Southern leaders pushed for unity, the people of South Sudan would listen. He asked the USG to educate Southern leaders on the dangers of separation and encourage them to advocate for unity. In the event the referendum does take place in 2011, Cairo is working to convince both Khartoum and Juba that a two-thirds majority should be required for separation from Sudan and that all Southerners, including those in Khartoum and the South Sudanese Diaspora, be allowed to participate in the referendum.

5.(C) DASD Huddleston told Soliman that the USG supports CPA implementation and the South's right to self-determination in the referendum. Huddleston added that these goals also CAIRO 00001787 002 OF 003 require northern assistance, especially on development. She stated that S/E Gration is working with the NCP and SPLM to resolve outstanding CPA issues such as the census, elections, border demarcation, wealth sharing, and the modalities of the referendum to guarantee a "stable Sudan." Huddleston added that these goals require northern assistance, especially on development. She said that the new policy will address the USG's strategy for Darfur and North and South Sudan. Huddleston anticipated that the framework for U.S. policy will reflect a commitment to carrying out the CPA so that the referendum might take place as planned. The USG understands Egypt's concerns about independence but is committed to the CPA and referendum process.

6.(C) VADM Moeller asked Soliman what incentives the GoE and Government of Sudan (GoS) were offering to encourage unity. Soliman admitted the GoS has done nothing to build infrastructure in the south. He stated that in March, Egypt sent equipment to clear Nile aquatic plants and building material to South Sudan, but the shipments were stuck in Port Sudan "due to U.S. economic sanctions." Soliman said many in the GoS no longer care about making unity attractive because they are convinced the South will vote for secession. Therefore, Khartoum is reticent to spend money or facilitate development in the South, which needs to encourage unity. He said the GoS would change its approach if the USG were willing to engage with Southern leaders to promote unity. ---------------------- Darfur Resolution Near ----------------------

7.(C) Soliman stated that a resolution to the Darfur crisis was only a matter of time. He said Egyptian efforts were ongoing to improve Sudan-Chad relations, unify Darfur rebel groups, and address humanitarian concerns. Soliman told the delegation that Sudanese President Bashir is ready to comply with a solution on Darfur, and he said Egypt hosted a special envoy from Chadian President Deby on September 2-3 for discussions on Sudan. The GoE pushed Chad to abandon support for JEM leader Khalil Ibrahim, whom Soliman described as a "radical Islamist," and enter peace negotiations with the GoS. Soliman said Egypt, Libya, and Qatar were enjoying success in unifying the demands of Darfuri groups so they could participate in negotiations with the GoS in Doha. He praised the efforts of S/E Gration at helping to address the humanitarian issue in Darfur and stated the "Europeans" need to do more to return to Darfur and provide assistance. Soliman said peace in Darfur is near, but cautioned that minor tribal conflicts are bound to occur in the future. ----------------------------- The Egyptian Plan for Somalia -----------------------------

8.(C) Soliman told the delegation that Egypt had a three track plan for Somalia. Egypt is working with Ethiopia and the Arab League to support Shaykh Sharif and the TFG, engaging with Eritrea to facilitate rapprochement and weaken the opposition, and has plans to assist with the reintegration Puntland and Somaliland into the country and address economic development issues to combat piracy. According to Soliman, Egypt is training Somali police in Djibouti and will do the same for the Somali Armed Forces. Cairo has asked the African Union (AU) to increase its forces in Somalia and change the mandate from peacekeeping to protection of civilians and government. Soliman stated that Egypt has had initial discussion with Eritrea on Somalia. Soliman and FM Aboul Gheit plan to go to Asmara after UNGA to open a dialogue with Eritrea officials on how to bring Shaykh Dahir Aweys into the TFG. Soliman said Aweys is jealous of Shaykh Sharif, but could be lured with the Vice Presidency. He stated that Aweys would then be able to use his religious credentials to convince Al Shibaab to support the government. Soliman also said the GoE had asked the Saudi and Emirati governments to control funds transferred from their countries to Somalia as a way to weaken the position of Al Shibaab.

9.(C) Soliman said the key to the Egyptian plan was convincing Eritrean President Afwerki to support Somali reconciliation. The GoE told the Eritrean FM on August 27 Afwerki's participation in the plan could improve his reputation and may help in obtaining Western assistance to implement the ICJ decision on the Eritrean-Ethiopian border dispute. Soliman said without Afwerki's participation Somalia would remain the site of a proxy war between Eritrea and CAIRO 00001787 003 OF 003 Ethiopia. He told the delegation that FM Aboul Gheit informed Ethiopian President Meles of the plan during the September 1 AU meetings in Libya. According to Soliman, Meles encouraged Egypt to try the plan, but warned Afwerki cannot be trusted to do what he says. DASD Huddleston suggested that Egypt keep the USG apprised of its efforts to promote an end to the conflict in Somalia, especially their conversations with President Afwerki.

10.(C) Soliman stated that piracy cannot be resolved unless the international community addresses the lack of development and economic opportunities in Somalia. Development funds, funneled through the TFG, will legitimize the government and allow them to exercise the control need to give people a chance at a better life. Otherwise, he said Somalia will be the "new site" for Al Qaeda and radicalism. Soliman said Puntland and Somaliland need to be reunified with the "motherland." He stated both autonomous governments are making money from piracy and have no interest in shutting down the pirates.

11.DASD Huddleston and VADM Moeller cleared this cable. Scobey

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Sudan: 15 Attacks On Health Facilities And Workers In Two Months

With the crisis escalating in Sudan, there have been 15 reports of attacks on healthcare workers and health facilities since last November, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday... More>>

Kazakhstan: Bachelet Urges Peaceful Resolution Of Grievances
Amid alarming reports of deadly violence in Kazakhstan, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Thursday urged all, including security forces, protesters and others, to refrain from violence and to seek a peaceful resolution of grievances... More>>

Pitcairn Island’s Christmas Present: Two-year Covid-19 Lockdown Lifted
The 50 inhabitants of remote Pitcairn Island, a tiny one-by-two-mile volcanic outcropping in the far reaches of the South Pacific Ocean, have just received the best Christmas present they could hope for...

Tigray: Agencies Suspend Aid As ‘Scores’ Are Killed Due To Airstrikes
Recent airstrikes on camps for internally displaced persons and refugees in Tigray, northern Ethiopia, have reportedly killed scores of civilians, including children, and left many more injured... More>>

UN News: For 25th Year In A Row, Greenland Ice Sheet Shrinks

2021 marked the 25th year in a row in which the key Greenland ice sheet lost more mass during the melting season, than it gained during the winter, according to a new UN-endorsed report issued on Friday... More>>

Afghanistan: Economy In ‘Freefall’, Threatening To Take Entire Population With It

Afghanistan’s economy is in “free fall”, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator told a special meeting on Sunday, warning that if decisive and compassionate action is not taken immediately, it may “pull the entire population with it”... More>>