Cablegate: A/S Carson's October 27 Discussion of African

DE RUEHEG #2130/01 3160947
P 120947Z NOV 09 ZDK

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 CAIRO 002130



E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/02/2019
AFFAIRS WITH EGYPTIAN COUNTERPARTS Classified By: Ambassador Margaret Scobey for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).
1.(C) Key Points: -- Egyptian Assistant Foreign Minister for African Affairs Mona Omar told Assistant Secretary (A/S) of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson on October 27 that the Government of Egypt (GoE) supports Sheikh Sharif and the TFG as the only credible option for Somalia, but national reconciliation is needed to prevent "further disaster." Egypt proposed cooperation with the USG on a plan where Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki would use his leverage to convince Somali opposition leader Sheikh Dahir Aweys to ally with the TFG. -- Carson told Omar that Eritrea had rebuffed numerous USG attempts to engage and urged caution with Aweys because he is a "radical source" in al-Shabaab. Instead, he urged Egypt to support the TFG, AMISOM, and the Djibouti process. -- The Egyptian MFA's Sudan Department representative said the U.S. and Egypt need to work together to bridge the gaps between the NCP and SPLM and help make unity in Sudan attractive. -- Omar said eastern Congo is a priority for Egypt because it is rich in minerals and has strong ties to the Nile Basin countries. Egypt has 1,300 soldiers in the MONUC peacekeeping mission, but its attempts to provide aid to eastern Congo were rebuffed because Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) President Joseph Kabila is reticent to engage with Egypt, according to Omar. End Key Points. ------------------- Support for the TFG -------------------

2.(C) A/S Johnnie Carson discussed a range of African regional issues with his Egyptian counterpart A/FM Mona Omar and a delegation of the Egyptian MFA's Africa experts on October 27. Omar said Egypt supports Sheikh Sharif and the TFG, and understands they represent the only credible option for Somalia. However, she remarked that neither is popular with the Somali populace. Omar added that the situation in the country was complicated with arms intended for the TFG being sold in Mogadishu markets and influential members in the TFG retaining close ties to al-Shabaab. She stated that national reconciliation is needed to prevent "further disaster." --------------------------------- Reaching out to Eritrea and Aweys ---------------------------------

3.(C) Omar said Egypt wants to work with the U.S. to play a positive role in supporting the TFG and resolving the Somali crisis. She told Carson that Egypt believes it can work with Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki to convince Somali opposition leader Sheikh Dahir Aweys to abandon al-Shabaab and ally with the TFG. According to Omar, Aweys' relationship with al-Shabaab is temporary and tactical, but Aweys and Sharif share much in common. Egypt is also working with Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and the Arab League to get through to Aweys and "balance his Islamic extremism."

4.(C) Omar admitted that Eritrea is a conduit for money and arms to the Somali opposition, but not the source. She said proposed economic sanctions would only penalize the Eritrean people and further isolate the leadership. Omar suggested that the U.S. and Egypt work together to find a way to implement the ICJ border decision, which would gain Isaias' trust and support for Egypt's peace plan in Somalia.

5.(C) A/S Carson acknowledged that the U.S. and Egypt have convergent views on most issues in Somalia such as support for Sheikh Sharif, the TFG, and the Djibouti process. He agreed that the TFG is in a precarious position and he asked Egypt to encourage Sharif to make the TFG more inclusive, deliver services in the areas he controls, improve his message to counter al-Shabaab, and strengthen the TFG security forces. He expressed skepticism about the plan to engage with President Isaias to moderate Sheikh Aweys. He told Omar that Isaias had rebuffed numerous USG attempts to engage and urged caution with Aweys because he is a "radical CAIRO 00002130 002 OF 002 source" in al-Shabaab. Instead, Carson urged Omar to focus on supporting the TFG, AMISOM, and the Djibouti process. --------------------------------------------- --------- Development Cooperation to Address Basic Needs; Piracy --------------------------------------------- ---------

6.(C) According to Omar, Egypt is providing doctors, teachers, medicine, and food in Somaliland, but security conditions prevented plans to provide uniforms for TFG forces and a mobile hospital in southern Somalia. Omar said Egypt had doctors who were willing to go to Somalia to provide basic medical care and asked if the U.S. was interested in cooperating by providing the medical supplies. Carson said this may be a good opportunity for the USG to cooperate with the GoE and he said he would check with Washington about the Egyptian offer. Omar stated that the Government of Puntland objects to the international community's approach to piracy. She said the government has identified 1,000 pirates and convinced 200 of them to abandon piracy. However, she said these individuals need jobs and economic development to sustain their commitment. -------------------------------- Making Unity Attractive in Sudan --------------------------------

7.(C) Ahmed Abdel Meguid, First Secretary in the Egyptian MFA's Sudan Department, told Carson that the U.S. and Egypt need to work together to bridge the gaps between the NCP and SPLM and help make unity in Sudan attractive. He said Egypt was providing development aid including power plants, schools, and medical clinics to encourage unity. He encouraged the USG to consider the African Union's idea of creating a "hybrid court" of African judges to hear charges against Bashir and other suspected war criminals as an alternative to the ICC. ------------------------- Eastern DRC is a Priority -------------------------

8.(C) Omar said eastern Congo is a priority for Egypt because it is rich in minerals and has strong ties to other countries in the Nile Basin such as Rwanda, Sudan, and Uganda. The GoE hoped for improvement in the region after the understanding between Kabila and Rwandan President Paul Kagame. However, this has not come to fruition. Omar said Egypt has 1,300 soldiers in MONUC and has offered development assistance to eastern Congo, but has not received a response from Kabila. According to Omar, Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila does not engage with Egypt and there is not a good bilateral relationship. She said the problem in the DRC appears to be that the leadership "does not cover the entire country."

9.(U) A/S Carson cleared this cable. Scobey

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