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Cablegate: Egyptian Mfa Discusses Sudan and Somalia

VZCZCXYZ0003
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHEG #2356/01 3571041
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 231041Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4536
INFO RUEHAE/AMEMBASSY ASMARA 0222
RUEHKH/AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM 1394
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 0003

C O N F I D E N T I A L CAIRO 002356

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR NEA/ELA, AF/SPG, AF/E

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/20/2019
TAGS: PREL SU SO EG
SUBJECT: EGYPTIAN MFA DISCUSSES SUDAN AND SOMALIA

REF: A. STATE 128084
B. CAIRO 2129
C. CAIRO 2130 Classified By: Counselor for Economic and Political Affairs Stephen P. O'Dowd for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).
1.(C) Key Points: -- According to Mohamed El Mullah, the Egyptian MFA cabinet advisor on African Affairs, Egypt and France agreed to postpone the France-Africa summit until late May 2010 and move the summit from Sharm El Sheikh to France. However, El Mullah said the decision would exacerbate tensions between Khartoum and Paris. -- El Mullah said Egypt will host a Darfur Reconstruction Conference during the second half of March 2010 for donor and member countries of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) will be invited. The event is to raise funds to reconstruct villages in "areas of calm" in Darfur and facilitate voluntary repatriation of IDPs. -- El Mullah expressed concern that the activities of S/E Gration, UN/AU Representative Djibril Bassole, Former South African President Thabo Mbeki, and the Libyan Government are not coordinated. -- El Mullah said the Government of Egypt (GoE) supports the Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the Djibouti Peace Process. However, it sees no contradiction in outreach efforts to Shaykh Dahir Aweys or the Eritrean Government because these efforts may help bring peace and stability to Somalia and the Horn of Africa.

2.(C) Comment: The GoE feels left out of the USG initiatives on Darfur and Somalia and would like to be included in multi-lateral efforts on these areas of mutual interest and concern. Egypt's efforts to host a conference with the French on these issues reflect its interest and desire for influence in these areas. Cairo values its relationship with Asmara because it gives it an additional lever of influence in the Horn, most notably in Somalia and with Ethiopia. ------------------------------------- French-Africa Summit Moved, Postponed -------------------------------------

3.(C) A clearly frustrated Mohamed El Mullah, Egyptian MFA cabinet advisor on African Affairs, told us on December 17 that Egypt and France agreed to postpone the France-Africa summit until late May 2010 and move the summit from Sharm El Sheikh to France. He claimed Egypt was not upset that it would not host the event as "Egypt was tired and had recently hosted multiple international fora." El Mullah said the bigger issue was the French slight to Sudanese President Bashir. He stated that the French action would exacerbate tensions between Khartoum and Paris and lead many African Presidents to object to the French position. El Mullah believed the French decision was based solely on Sarkozy's need for increased domestic political support. --------------------------------------------- - Egypt to Host Darfur Reconstruction Conference --------------------------------------------- -

4.(C) El Mullah said Egypt will host a Darfur Reconstruction Conference during the second half of March 2010, which will be co-sponsored by Turkey and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). Donor and member countries of the OIC will be invited to the conference. The aim of the event is to raise funds to reconstruct villages in "areas of calm" and facilitate voluntary repatriation of IDPs, according to El Mullah. He said the GoE plans on holding a larger and more comprehensive reconstruction conference once a peace accord is signed by the Sudanese Government and the Darfuri groups. ---------------------------- Darfur Efforts Uncoordinated ----------------------------

5.(C) El Mullah said the GoE endorsed the work of S/E Gration, but is concerned that the current lack of coordination among key players on Darfur will not lead to peace or stability. He said Gration, UN/AU Representative Djibril Bassole, Former South African President Thabo Mbeki, and the Libyan Government all were staging their own events, none of which are coordinated. El Mullah added that Bassole and Mbeki are not friendly and do not want to work together. He encouraged the USG to reevaluate whether unification of Darfuri groups was needed and encouraged the use of "sticks" to bring Darfuri groups to the peace table. --------------------------------------------- ------------- GoE Supports Djibouti Process; Advocates Outreach to Aweys --------------------------------------------- -------------

6.(C) Poloff delivered reftel A demarche on support for the Djibouti Peace Process and the Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG). El Mullah assured us that the GoE fully supports the Djibouti process and the TFG. However, he disagreed that outreach to Shaykh Dahir Aweys would lead to a reopening of the Djibouti process. (Note: The GoE expressed this view to A/S Carson during his October visit to Cairo in reftels B-C. End Note). El Mullah believes that outreach to Aweys constitutes a broadening of the Djibouti agreement. He said there are only three credible forces in Somalia; the TFG, Al Shibaab and Aweys' Hizb al-Islam and he Egyptian proposal is meant to bring peace by aligning two of the parties under the TFG. He stated that the provision of weapons will only extend the fighting between the parties. -------------------------------- Eritrea Sanctions Not the Answer --------------------------------

7.(C) El Mullah said Egypt is not "pro-Eritrea", but outreach to Eritrea was necessary to manage the "delicate equation" in the Horn of Africa. He said Eritrean President Isaias Afworki could play a role in bringing peace and stability to Somalia. El Mullah assessed that sanctions, proposed by Uganda, will not bring peace or stability to Somalia and will eliminate all avenues of dialogue with Eritrea. Scobey

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