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Cablegate: Somalia - Ambassador Speaks with Somaliland President

VZCZCXRO7664
OO RUEHDE RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHNR #2066/01 2730714
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 300714Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1169
INFO RUCNSOM/SOMALIA COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHMFIUU/CJTF HOA
RUZEFAA/CDR USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
RUZEFAA/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
RHMCSUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 NAIROBI 002066

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM SO
SUBJECT: SOMALIA - Ambassador Speaks With Somaliland President
Riyale

REF: Nairobi 2030

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Summary
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1. (SBU) On September 29, Ambassador Ranneberger spoke by phone
with Somaliland President Dahir Riyale Kahin. The Ambassador
underscored the U.S.-Somaliland partnership and emphasized that by
throwing out the voter registration list and the allowing violence
to escalate, including the killing of four protestors, Somaliland is
undermining its efforts to be a free and democratic state. The
Ambassador urged the Somaliland President to ensure that elections
occur as soon as possible and promised U.S. assistance, if
necessary, with the process. Riyale said he highly valued the
relationship with the U.S. and looks forward to increased engagement
to strengthen the rule of law and undermine efforts by al-Shabaab to
gain a foothold. He said he would support the six-point agreement
and the efforts to move the electoral process forward, including
revising the voter registration list and changing the leadership of
the National Electoral Commission. Riyale stated that he stand for
free and fair elections and a smooth transition. The Ambassador and
Riyale promised to continue dialogue and speak regularly about
progress on the presidential elections. End summary.

--------------------------------
Re-Engagement and Frank Dialogue
--------------------------------

2. (SBU) In a September 29 phone call with Somaliland President
Dahir Riyale Kahin, the Ambassador noted that the U.S.-Somaliland
partnership was based on shared democratic values and mutual
concerns, including fighting terrorism. The Ambassador told Riyale
that by throwing out the voter registration list and allowing
violence to escalate, including the killing of four protestors on
September 12, Somaliland was undermining its efforts to become a
free and democratic state. The Ambassador noted the importance of
all parties not just agreeing to the six-point framework, but making
efforts to break the current impasse. He urged the Somaliland
President to play his role in ensuring that elections occur as soon
as possible and promised U.S. assistance, if necessary, with the
process.

3. (SBU) Riyale said he highly valued the relationship with the
U.S. and looked forward to joint efforts to strengthen rule of law
and undermine efforts by al-Shabaab to gain a foothold in the
region. Riyale apologized for any misunderstanding that may have
tested relations and told the Ambassador that he would like to have
regular communication about electoral progress and current events.
About the September 25 Guurti decision, Riyale said that it was he
who had urged the Guurti not to unilaterally extend his term in
office. Riyale told the Ambassador that there were many groups which
had exerted pressure on the Guurti to do otherwise. The next steps,
Riyale said, would be technical rather than political and begin with
the signing of the six-point agreement, which he believed would
happen on September 30.

------------------------------------------
Stated Commitment to the Electoral Process
------------------------------------------

4. (SBU) Riyale told the Ambassador he would like to finalize
issues concerning the election as soon as possible. He said he
would abide by the six-point agreement and join efforts to move the
electoral process forward, including revising the voter registration
list and changing the leadership of the National Electoral
Commission. He told the Ambassador that he was looking forward to
the arrival of "qualified and credible" international experts to
help the NEC set a timeline on the way forward. The Ambassador said
that with the re-constitution of the NEC, the U.S. was prepared to
help Somaliland achieve its goal of a free and fair election.

5. (SBU) Riyale emphasized that, although he works in a "difficult
place," he stands for free and fair elections and a smooth
transition. He acknowledged that if the elections were not good,
Somaliland could be destabilized. The Ambassador assured the
Somaliland President that if he fulfills his pledge to support
free-and-fair elections, the U.S. would support Somaliland
throughout the electoral process. The Ambassador and the Somaliland
President promised to speak regularly about progress on the
presidential elections and other issues of mutual concern.

NAIROBI 00002066 002 OF 002

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Comment
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6. (SBU) In our first direct communication with Riyale since
August, the Somaliland President said all the right things. The
fact that he claimed credit for the Guurti decision that diffused
the political crisis demonstrates that Riyale is willing to
nominally support any politically expedient initiative. The Office
of the President reached out to the Somalia Unit immediately
following the September 25 Guurti decision. Riyale's emphasis on the
U.S.-Somaliland partnership again demonstrated that we have
considerable leverage. The Ambassador will engage frequently with
Riyale and we will explore additional ways to encourage a closer
relationship with Somaliland in order to foster democratic
development and continued relative stability.

RANNEBERGER

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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