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Cablegate: Assistant Secretary Carson,S Participation in The

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SUBJECT: ASSISTANT SECRETARY CARSON,S PARTICIPATION IN THE
CONTACT GROUP ON SOMALIA - SEPTEMBER 23, 2009

1. (U) September 23, 2009; 3:00 p.m.; New York, NY.

2. (U) Participants:

U.S.

AF Assistant Secretary Johnnie Carson
AF Deputy Assistant Secretary Karl Wycoff
Acting Assistant Administrator at USAID Earl Gast
Somalia Desk Officer Matthew Walsh (Notetaker)

CONTACT GROUP COUNTRIES AND ORGANIZATIONS
Burundi
Ethiopia
European Commission
France
Germany
Italy
Japan
Kenya
League of Arab States
Norway
Organization of the Islamic Conference
Russian Federation
Somalia
Spain
Uganda
United Nations
United Kingdom
Yemen

3. (SBU) SUMMARY. African Affairs Assistant Secretary (A/S)
Johnnie Carson represented the United States at this brief
meeting of the International Contact Group (ICG) on Somalia
on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
Although many countries and organizations sent higher-level
representation than at previous ICG meetings, the members did
not agree to concrete next steps. Instead, delegations
delivered short interventions on the current situation in
Somalia, the need for direct bilateral support for Somalia,s
Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the African Union
Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), and the need to create a UN
Somalia country team presence in Mogadishu. Members
unanimously condemned the September 17 suicide bombings in
Mogadishu. END SUMMARY.

---------------
Opening Remarks
---------------

4. (U) UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General
(SRSG) for Somalia Ahmedou Ould-Abdullah opened the meeting
as chair and quickly asked UN Under Secretary-General (USYG)
for the Department of Political Affairs Lynn Pascoe to speak.
Pascoe thanked those states that provided support to the TFG
and/or AMISOM and opined that if the TFG fails, the whole
world will suffer, not just Somalia. He thanked Uganda and
Burundi for their troop contributions to AMISOM and called on
more countries to &shoulder the burden.8 Pascoe noted that
while the TFG is Somalia,s best chance in almost twenty
years for stability, Somalis and the international community
have a lot of work to do.

5. (U) As former co-chairs of the ICG, the SRSG asked Norway
and the U.S. to deliver brief opening remarks. Norway
Foreign Minister (ForMin) Jonas Gahr Store noted that the
international community,s focus on Somalia must be a
long-term engagement since the challenges on the ground "are
enormous and unique." A/S Carson underscored continued U.S.
support for the TFG and AMISOM, encouraged other members to
support both entities directly and urgently, and highlighted
that the U.S. remains committed to addressing the dire
humanitarian situation in Somalia.

6. (U) TFG ForMin Ali Jama Jangeli spoke for the first time
in front of the ICG, having been appointed ForMin just last
month. Jangeli highlighted the TFG,s ongoing efforts in the
area of political reconciliation, noting that the TFG
continues to "seek and accommodate those with national
political agendas, while those with other global agendas have
no place" in the TFG. Jangeli also asked members to focus on
the implementation of the next steps listed in the communiqu
from the ICG meeting held in Rome in June. These include:
strengthening and expanding the TFG,s security forces and
AMISOM; responding to the humanitarian emergency; putting
pressure on outside spoilers; and finding "better mechanisms
for donor funding, as the current methods are not working."
Jangeli also asked that the ICG explore how to move the UN
Somalia country team from Nairobi to Mogadishu and look at
the issue of impunity more seriously.

7. (U) Kenya and Italy delivered opening statements, as the
SRSG held this ICG meeting at the two countries, urging.
Kenya Prime Minister Raila Odinga expressed his support for
the TFG and asked other countries to take-on a greater share
of the burden resulting from Somalia,s troubles. Odinga
noted the security threat posed by Kenya,s close proximity
to Somalia and Kenya,s hosting of hundreds-of-thousands of
Somali refugees, and highlighted Kenya,s cooperation in
taking dozens of suspected Somali pirates into its judicial
system. Italy ForMin Franco Fratinni underscored that if the
world is going to take the ICG seriously, then ICG members
need to disburse the funds they pledged at the April donors
conference in Brussels promptly. He also encouraged
discussion of AMISOM,s mandate, highlighted the need for
demobilization, disarmament, and reintegration programs, and
announced that Italy is ready to disburse more funding to the
TFG and/or AMISOM. Fratinni did not provide any details on
this potential funding.

------------------------------
Support for the TFG and AMISOM
------------------------------

8. (U) UN USYG for the Department of Field Support (DFS)
Susana Malcorra spoke about DFS,s efforts, through the UN
Support Office for AMISOM (UNSOA), to bring AMISOM up to UN
peacekeeping operation standards. According to Malcorra,
&AMISOM is almost at 100 percent.8 She highlighted that
UNSOA is now providing full food rations to AMISOM, a medical
evacuation system is in place, UNSOA sent three shipments of
equipment to Mogadishu, and in two weeks UNSOA will begin
providing fuel for AMISOM. Malcorra said DFS priorities
moving forward are to secure the supply line from Mombasa,
Kenya, to Mogadishu, and to enable UNSOA to oversee more UN
personnel and resources in Mogadishu so the UN can begin
planning for the construction of a headquarters (HQ) for
Somalia in Mogadishu.

9. (U) At numerous times throughout the meeting, SRSG
Ould-Abdullah called on members to support the TFG with
direct, bilateral contributions, vice contributions to the
TFG or AMISOM trust funds set up under UN auspices. Various
delegations echoed this call, including the U.S. and Italy,
but the ICG made no new concrete pledges. Germany did
announce that its long-talked-about effort to fund the
Government of Ethiopia to train 1,000 TFG police officers in
Ethiopia will start on October 1. France announced that 150
TFG troops it is training in Djibouti will be ready to return
to Mogadishu &in a matter of weeks.8

---------------------------------------------
UN Somalia Country Team Presence in Mogadishu
---------------------------------------------

10. (SBU) SRSG Ould-Abdullah, USYGs Pascoe and Malcorra,
Norway and Italy all called for the UN to establish some
level of permanent representation in Mogadishu. These
statements ranged from Norway asking for the establishment of
a UNHQ in Mogadishu and the movement of the UN Political
Office for Somalia (UNPOS) from Nairobi to Mogadishu; to USYG
Malcorra noting the need for a UNHQ in Mogadishu; to USYG
Pascoe noting the need for &UN presence8 in Mogadishu.
Beyond these brief mentions, the issue did not generate any
debate, nor did it result in any next steps.

--------------------------------------------- ----
Condemnation of the September 17 Suicide Bombings
--------------------------------------------- ----

11. (U) Starting with USYG Pascoe, almost every speaker at
the meeting condemned the September 17 suicide bombings in
Mogadishu that killed 21 AMISOM peacekeepers and Somalis.
A/S Carson stated, &The United States joins our
international partners in our condemnation*in the strongest
possible terms*of the terrorist attacks in Mogadishu on
September 17. We pay tribute to the brave soldiers who lost
their lives in that attack by continuing our pursuit of peace
in Somalia. We recognize the incredible work the African
Union is doing through AMISOM(The brave Ugandan and
Burundian personnel in AMISOM deserve our support and praise
for their immeasurable contribution.8

-------
COMMENT
-------

12. (SBU) While this meeting of the ICG on Somalia did draw
some welcome high-level attention from Italy, Kenya and
Yemen, the discussion did not produce any concrete steps for
moving forward or generate any significant pledges of support
for the TFG or AMISOM. The creation of a forum that would
bring together current donors to Somalia, as well as
realistic potential donors, seems even more pressing if we
hope to discuss international coordination and assistance for
the TFG and AMISOM productively. Yemen ForMin Dr. Abu Bakr
Al-Qirbi summarized this thought very succinctly at the
meeting when he commented that Yemen,s representatives at
previous ICG meetings always reported, "The meeting went very
well." However, in reality, the ForMin noted, the ICG
meetings are not producing much in the way of concrete
results that advance the Djibouti Peace Process. END COMMENT.
CLINTON

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