Cablegate: Un Srsg for Somalia Pleads for Funding to Thwart
PP RUEHBZ RUEHDBU RUEHDU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHMR RUEHNP RUEHPA
RUEHRN RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR RUEHTRO
DE RUCNDT #0027/01 0201026
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 201026Z JAN 10
FM USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
TO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA PRIORITY 2213
RUEHAE/AMEMBASSY ASMARA PRIORITY 1913
RUEHDJ/AMEMBASSY DJIBOUTI PRIORITY 0014
RUEHKH/AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM PRIORITY 1775
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI PRIORITY 0004
RUEHYN/AMEMBASSY SANAA PRIORITY 0028
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8021
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 USUN NEW YORK 000027
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/14/2020
TAGS: PREL PGOV UNSC PTER MARR PHUM SO
SUBJECT: UN SRSG FOR SOMALIA PLEADS FOR FUNDING TO THWART
Classified By: Ambassador Susan E. Rice for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).
1. (C) SUMMARY. During a January 12 meeting with Ambassador Rice, UN Special Representative for Somalia Ould-Abdallah underscored Somalia's potential as a terrorist incubator, citing the presence of foreign fighters and the TFG's inability to provide security. He said that two things are needed to defeat extremism in Somalia: regular salary payments and provision of equipment for AMISOM troops, as well as funding for the Somalia security sector. Ould-Abdallah noted the link between Somalia and Yemen, and expressed concern that the international community has not "connected the dots." Ould-Abdallah stated that the WFP's aid suspension in southern and central Somalia was unnecessary and driven by a need to extradite itself from payments to al-Shaabab rather than by security concerns. He praised the TFG's ability to persevere over the past year, and noted his plans to ask for an integrated UN Mission in Somalia to streamline existing operations and reduce costs. END SUMMARY.
Somalia as Incubator for Global Terrorism ----------------------------------------
2. (C) In a January 12 meeting with Ambassador Rice, United Nations Special Representative for Somalia Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah emphasized the growing threat of extremism posed by an unstable Somalia, underscoring that, "we are facing a very serious threat by people with money and organization," both in Somalia and around the world. He stated that the international community must move Somalia "from a failed state to a fragile state," and that it is critical for the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) to provide a minimum level of security and hope for its citizens. Pointing to the attempted suicide attack on a U.S. airliner over Detroit, Ould-Abdallah underscored that Somalia has similar potential for incubating terrorists, including those holding U.S., United Kingdom and European passports. He noted the high number of foreign fighters who have joined the armed opposition, including American and British citizens, and gave a firsthand account of the prevalence of extremist views within the Somali community li ving in Minnesota. Stating that the threat is critical, Ould-Abdallah urged targeted operations on terrorists in Somalia, and said that the Security Council needs to define its overall objective in Somalia.
Regular Financing Key to Security
3. (C) Ould-Abdallah pointed to financing, for both AMISOM and the Somali security sector, as key to defeating the extremists. He stated that the international community is spending too much time on "training, workshops, and assessments" in lieu of ensuring that salaries are paid. He noted the results of the U.S. government's $500,000 contribution to the TFG security sector in June and July, 2009, distributed partially as salaries to the TFG forces and police. He described the immediate, disce rnable impact on the security environment after the forces become "motivated to fight." Ould-Abdallah pointed to the paltry international contributions to the UN Trust Fund for Somali Security Institutions, noting that only China, Libya, Rwanda and the United States have made donations. He cited the Trust Fund's high overhead, slow reaction time and overwhelming bureaucracy as discouraging donors. He urged financial flexibility and encouraged contributions to instead flow through the fast and transparent PriceWaterHouseCoopers mechanism, which charges four percent overhead, as opposed to the Trust Fund's 16 percent.
4. (C) Ould-Abdallah praised AMISOM's work, but stated that the lack of salary payments to troops since July 1, 2009 is negatively affecting morale and impacting the ability of AMISOM to fulfill its mission. He said AMISOM troop salaries should equal those of UN peacekeepers salaries in locations such as Darfur. In response to Ambassador Rice's question about whether AMISOM troops have received their full salaries in the past, or if money is siphoned off by contributing countries, Ould-Abdallah stated that some money may be lost in the process to convert the cash to local currencies. Ould-Abdallah USUN NEW Y 00000027 002 OF 003 explained that the payments, which come from voluntary contributions pledged by the European Union, have been delayed for six months due to EU red tape. He urged more regular salary payments and noted his openness to using assessed contributions for this goal. He also lamented the lack of financing for military equipment, stating that the Ugandans brought their own heavy equipment to Somalia in March 2007, but have not been reimbursed for its use.
5. (C) Noting the relationship between Somalia and the larger region, Ould-Abdallah expressed frustration that in his conversations with the international community, only Japan has recognized that Islamic extremists will never accept a referendum in southern Sudan. He also recommended that New York and London analyze the links between Somalia and Yemen more closely, as the two nations are comprised of the same ethnic groups, often from the same families. He noted as an example that the Yemeni Minister of Foreign Affairs spent his childhood in Mogadishu. Given these connections, Ould-Abdallah expressed surprise that the United Kingdom will host a January 27 meeting on Yemen in London without a session on Somalia. He had raised his concern with the British Permanent Representative, who has agreed to pass on this recommendation to London.
6. (C) On sanctions, Ambassador Rice noted that once al-Shaabab is designated by the Somalia Sanctions Committee as a group subject to asset freezes and travel bans, the UN and UN member states will be prohibited from contributing to relief organizations operating in al-Shaabab-controlled areas. She noted the U.S.'s desire to include language in the upcoming AMISOM resolution renewal that would exempt donors who are providing aid to legitimate humanitarian organizations. Ould-Abdallah stated that the United Kingdom will likely support designating al-Shaabab as a terrorist organization and that they would also support designating four to five individual al-Shaabab leaders for sanctions, although ten to fifteen names would be problematic.
7. (C) Ould-Abdallah lauded the TFG's ability to persevere over the past year even while the government has been unable to pay its workers. He noted that in spite of the number of extremists aligned with al-Shaabab who work within the government, the TFG has remained united, a testament to its overall strength. Although Ould-Abdallah was generally positive about the TFG, he underscored that it is unacceptable that the government has worked on the constitution for five years without results. He added that the international community cannot continue to "micromanage" the TFG from Nairobi.
World Food Program Aid Suspension
8. (C) Ambassador Rice raised the World Food Program's (WFP) recent suspension of humanitarian assistance in parts of southern and central Somalia. Ould-Abdallah stated that the WFP had discovered over time that its traditional way of distributing assistance, by working through communities, didn't function in Somalia. He said that the WFP chose to suspend some operations not because of a security threat, but rather because it had become too reliant upon al-Shaabab and its system of pay-offs. He stated that the WFP was being manipulated after becoming "too close" to al-Shaabab, so it used the "convenient option of withdrawing" to "escape from U.S. legislation and not feel embarrassed." Ould-Abdallah brushed off the suspension's affect on the population, stating that the residents will rely on each other and travel to refugee camps in Kenya. Ambassador Rice questioned how southern Somalia will be able to prevent famine without the WFP and noted that population movements to Kenya or other parts of Somalia will be inherently destabilizing. Ould-Abdallah stated that the WFP will be able to continue some operations to the south out of Mogadishu, and noted that a USUN NEW Y 00000027 003 OF 003 meeting will be held in Nairobi next week with UN colleagues who have worked with the Taliban in Afghanistan to draw from their lessons learned in aid distribution.
Integrated UN Mission
9. (SBU) Ould-Abdallah ended by outlining his plan to ask for an integrated UN Mission in Nairobi, as called for by UNSCR 1863. He envisions a Mission headed by a Special Representative and two deputies, which would be similar to the integrated Peacekeeping Operation in Congo. He cited the high overhead of UNDP in Somalia and noted that an integrated mission would decrease overall operating costs. RICE