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Viewing cable 09TRIPOLI558, AU SUMMIT: A/S CARSON MEETING WITH FRENCH MFA AFRICA DIRECTOR GOMPERTZ TRIPOLI 00000558 001.2 OF 002 CLASSIFIED BY: Gene A. Cretz, Ambassador, US Embassy Tripoli, Department of State. REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TRIPOLI558 2009-07-13 09:09 2011-01-31 21:09 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tripoli
VZCZCXRO5471
PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN
DE RUEHTRO #0558/01 1940934
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 130934Z JUL 09
FM AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5014
INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 1073
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0749
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/CDR USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
RHMFISS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY 0172
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 0187
RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI 5552
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TRIPOLI 000558 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR AF/FO, AF/E, AF/RSA, AF/W, AND EUR/WE 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL:  7/12/2019 
TAGS: PREF PGOV FR SO ML NG MA GV IV AU LY
SUBJECT: AU SUMMIT: A/S CARSON MEETING WITH FRENCH MFA AFRICA DIRECTOR GOMPERTZ TRIPOLI 00000558 001.2 OF 002 CLASSIFIED BY: Gene A. Cretz, Ambassador, US Embassy Tripoli, Department of State. REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)

1.(C) Summary: Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Johnnie Carson met with French Ministry of Foreign Affairs AF Assistant Secretary-equivalent, Stephane Gompertz, and French Ambassador to Ethiopia, Jean-Christophe Belliard, on the margins of the African Union (AU) Summit on July 1 in Sirte, Libya. In a wide-ranging discussion, the two sides reviewed the political crises across the African continent and efforts by Washington, Paris, the AU, and others to find solutions and prevent violence and unconstitutional changes of government. Both Paris and Washington are committed to helping the Somali Transitional Federal Government's (TFG) security forces with some combination of cash for salaries, weapons, and training. They agreed on the need to tackle the growing drug traffic on the continent, a scourge that has the potential to bring down governments. End Summary.

Somalia -------

2.(C) In his meeting with the Quai d'Orsay's top Africa specialist, A/S Carson identified Somalia as the principal concern for the USG recently. He underscored U.S. support for the Djibouti peace process and the TFG, noting that President Sheikh Sharif was "in a struggle for his existence." Al-Shabaab is "ruthless and unrelenting" in their struggle to overthrow Sharif. In Carson's estimation, now is the "last best chance" in the foreseeable future to restore stability in Somalia. "If the TFG fails, it will be a while before another political process is in place and capable of supplanting al-Shabaab," he said. Even if al-Shabaab were to emerge victorious, they would eventually fragment, allowing al-Qaida to expand its presence in Somalia, Carson said.

3.(C) Carson continued that the unrest in Somalia has spawned a refugee crisis in Kenya, piracy in the Red Sea, smuggling operations throughout East Africa, and internal strife, the impacts of which are being felt across the region. Carson reviewed for Gompertz the amount and kind of assistance the USG has provided to the TFG, including cash to pay salaries and purchase weapons for TFG forces. The United States has also urged African states, such as Uganda, Burundi, and Algeria, to contribute personnel and other support to AMISOM. The USG has actively assisted Ugandan and Burundian troops to prepare them for their mission. For his part, Gompertz said that France intended to train Somali security forces in Djibouti starting in August.

4.(C) Gompertz asked whether Carson believed AU member states would seek to impose sanctions on Eritrea to punish it for supporting al-Shabaab. Carson acknowledged that African states were increasingly worried about Eritrea's negative role.

Mali ----

5.(C) Gompertz said France's greatest preoccupation in Africa at the present time is Mali, and this is because of the serious threat posed by al-Qaida in the Maghreb. France is still evaluating whether Mali is at a turning point. The GOF is supplying equipment, including two light aircraft, to President Amadou Toumani Toure to counter al-Qaida. Carson opined that Toure would do his best. He cautioned, however, that the Malians should not make the mistake of targeting the Tuareg as part of their campaign against al-Qaida. The Tuareg problem is historically distinct and should be handled as such, Carson advised Gompertz. Gompertz agreed that it would be a big mistake to treat the two issues as one problem.

Niger -----

6.(C) Developments in Niger worry both France and the United States. President Mamadou Tandja's attempts to change the constitution in order to extend his mandate do not bode well for Niger, where the courts, public opinion, and even some in the military oppose Tandja. Gompertz said President Sarkozy is upset with Tandja for "infringing on the rules of democracy" and that France fears a coup if Tandja persists. The AU's TRIPOLI 00000558 002.2 OF 002 Commissioner for Peace and Security, Ramtane Lamamra, also has expressed his concern to the French. Carson and Gompertz discussed the need for even stronger statements condemning Tandja's attempt to change the constitution and possibly dispatching a special envoy to Niamey to deliver a strong message to him.

Madagascar ----------

7.(C) On Madagascar, Gompertz made clear that his government does not want to harm the Malagasy population and explained that French humanitarian services will continue to be provided but only through NGOs. Carson said U.S. assistance has already been scaled back more than 40 percent and the Millennium Challenge Account has been terminated. Gompertz signaled the approach of an International Contact Group meeting as the next opportunity to bring the principal stakeholders together.

Drug Trafficking ----------------

8.(C) The meeting also contained a discussion on the growing narco-trafficking problem on the African continent and how this scourge has had a deleterious effect on countries such as Guinea-Bissau and Guinea. Both sides conceded that their governments have neglected Guinea-Bissau for the past decade and that greater engagement is called for. Gompertz urged the USG to re-open its embassy in Bissau. Carson agreed that an American presence was needed. With regard to drug traffickers, Carson said the United States has urged West African states to turn over drug traffickers to the United States and other western nations for prosecution. He cited the examples of Sierra Leone and Cape Verde where Latin American traffickers have been delivered to the U.S. justice system rather than being returned to their countries of origin. In a related issue, Gompertz expressed his country's concern that consumption of crack cocaine may be on the rise in cities like Ouagadougou and Bamako, boding ill for future drug addiction problems in those countries.

Guinea ------

9.(C) Carson opined that Guinea's coup leader, Dadis Camara, would not hold elections before the end of the year nor would he give up power. "He is not a transformational figure," he said. The upcoming International Contact Group meeting will cover ways of applying more pressure on the junta, Gompertz said. Both Gompertz and Carson assessed that Dadis was a volatile personality who had to be treated with care.

Cote d'Ivoire -------------

10.(C) On Cote d'Ivoire, there was agreement that President Laurent Gbagbo likely will not deliver on his promise to hold elections by the end of the year, particularly if he determines that he may lose.

11.(U) A/S Carson has approved this message. CRETZ