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Viewing cable 09TRIPOLI561, AU SUMMIT: A/S CARSON'S MEETING WITH SOMALI PRESIDENT SHEIKH SHARIF TRIPOLI 00000561 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
09TRIPOLI561 2009-07-13 09:09 2011-02-03 21:09 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tripoli
VZCZCXRO5495
PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN
DE RUEHTRO #0561/01 1940944
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 130944Z JUL 09
FM AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5020
INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 0905
RUEHDO/AMEMBASSY DOHA 0031
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH 0003
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 0031
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/CDR USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
RHMFISS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY 0178
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 0193
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0755
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 1079
RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI 5558
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TRIPOLI 000561 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR AF/FO, AF/E, AND AF/RSA 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL:  7/12/2019 
TAGS: PREL PGOV KPKO SO ER ET KE AU LY
SUBJECT: AU SUMMIT: A/S CARSON'S MEETING WITH SOMALI PRESIDENT SHEIKH SHARIF TRIPOLI 00000561 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 and Somali President Sheikh Sharif met July 1 on the margins of the African Union (AU) Summit in Sirte, Libya. Their exchange included an assessment of the Somali Transitional Federal Government's (TFG) capacity to repel al-Shabaab's forces. Sharif appealed for international financial and military support to win the war. Carson expressed the USG's readiness to broaden its support for Sharif's government, and he encouraged the Somali President to show more political resolve to issue more strong statements about his determination to rid Somalia of extremism. Both sides agreed on the necessity for the government to restore stability so that it can deliver more services to the Somali people. They also concurred that Qatari and Eritrean support for al-Shabaab must end. End Summary. 

2. (C) A/S Carson opened by telling President Sharif that the Secretary was pleased to have had a telephone conversation with the Somali President in late May. Carson also expressed his condolences for the loss of TFG's security minister and Mogadishu's police commissioner in separate assassinations recently. Carson assured Sharif that the United States "believes very strongly in what you are doing and what you represent." He reaffirmed the importance of the Djibouti peace process. 

SHARIF ACCUSES QATAR AND ERITREA OF SUPPORTING AL-SHABAAB
--------------------------------------------- ------------ 

3. (C) President Sharif, who was accompanied by Somalia Transitional Federal Government (TFG) Foreign Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Omaar and Chief of Staff and Senior Adviser Abdulkareem Jama, thanked the USG for its support. Reviewing his government's efforts to repel al-Shabaab's forces, Sharif said the TFG has implemented every mechanism to stabilize Mogadishu, but al-Shabaab's support remains strong and has the backing of al-Qaida. Sharif blamed certain governments, including Qatar, of providing financial assistance to al-Shabaab, and he accused Eritrea of funneling these funds as well as weapons to al-Shabaab. Despite these challenges, the TFG intends to remain in Somalia to defend the country, the Somalia President said. 

TFG PAYING SALARIES WHILE AL-SHABAAB TERRORIZES CITIZENS 
--------------------------------------------- ----------- 

4. (C) Somalia's population is terrorized by al-Shabaab, Sharif continued. Somalis cannot speak freely, and those who do are tortured, maimed, and burned. The TFG is offering Somalis hope, Sharif maintained. His government has proposed a budget and is in the process of establishing a central bank and financial institutions. For three consecutive months, the TFG has been able to maintain salaries to civil servants. More resources are needed to fight the war, he said. He also implored the international community to help the TFG counter the external forces that are backing al-Shabaab. 

5. (C) Carson reviewed with Sharif recent USG assistance to the TFG, including $1.5 million in cash and substantial quantities of military equipment, and he noted the U.S. commitment to provide additional funding for training, equipment, and salaries for TFG security forces. The United States also wants to provide non U.S. contractors who could send tactical trainers and advisors to work with TFG Forces in Mogadishu. In addition, the United States continues to assist troop contributing countries and others to lend their support. Carson said he had sent an AF bureau DAS to the Middle East to encourage states that had pledged support to the TFG to make good on their pledges. At USG request, Kenya has agreed to interdict flights from Kenya going into Mogadishu that might include weapons and other resources for al-Shabaab. Eritrea, Carson said, is playing a spoiler role by supporting al-Shabaab and serving as a conduit for money and foreign fighters. U.S. pressure on Eritrea would continue, he told Sharif. 

6. A/S Carson also applauded Sharif for issuing strong public TRIPOLI 00000561 002.2 OF 002 statements about his determination to keep fighting al-Shabaab and urged him to improve the conditions on the ground for all Somalis. "You represent peace for Somalia. Al-Shabaab represents violence and a return to the past," Carson said. 

7. (C) If the TFG can ensure stability, the USG is prepared to further support the government's efforts to provide services, such as education and health care, Carson told Sharif. This will demonstrate to the Somali people that your administration is capable of assisting them and improving their lives. In the coming months, the TFG must win on the battlefield as well as in the court of public opinion, Carson added. He urged the TFG to publicize al-Shabaab's negative actions, such as the cutting off of hands of thieves. "There are things I think the Somali people do not want to see come to their country." The U.S. will offer the TFG assistance with crafting appropriate media messages to counter the extremists. 

SHARIF URGES BROADER MANDATE AND MORE TROOPS FOR AMISOM 
--------------------------------------------- ---------- 

8. (C) The Somali President returned to the issue of al-Qaida's role in Somalia. The number of foreign fighters is "not insignificant" and they have experience with this type of warfare, Sharif asserted. That said, al-Shabaab may have miscalculated and have been dealt a significant blow. The TFG has information that foreign fighters are now regrouping and reviewing their plans and methodologies. Sharif said that al-Shabaab will never give up. Given that they are intent on war, the TFG must take the initiative on offense. In this context, AMISOM should be given a more robust mandate and the rules of engagement should be modified to allow the AMISOM troops greater flexibility and capacity to confront al-Shabaab. He also called for increasing the number of AMISOM troops. 

9. (C) A/S Carson noted that other African countries had shown hesitancy about committing troops to AMISOM. Uganda was prepared to send more troops but wanted additional resources to do so. Kenya was not willing to send troops across the Somali border. Carson said the USG would study the question of strengthening AMISOM's mandate and rules of engagement, but that the TFG and the AU could count on U.S. support for assisting the AMISOM forces. The United States also wants the TFG to be more inclusive in order to build up its political support. The USG will also study IGAD's resolution that calls for a naval blockade of the port of Kismayo, al-Shabaab's power base. (Note: The AU had adopted a similar resolution by the time the Summit concluded. End note.)

 SHARIF URGES USG ENGAGEMENT WITH QATAR -------------------------------------- 

10. (C) President Sharif and his aides requested USG intervention with the Emir of Qatar to persuade him to stop playing a negative role in Somalia. The United States may need to appeal to the Emir's vanity, the aides said, recalling his peacemaker role in other parts of the Middle East and in Sudan. (Note: A/S Carson offered to meet with the Emir, whom Libyan Leader Moammar Qadhafi had invited for the AU Summit opening ceremony, but the Emir departed Sirte immediately after the ceremony. End note.) 

11. (C) The meeting concluded with President Sharif's request for a brief meeting with POTUS on the margins of the next UNGA session in September. A/S Carson said he would look into the possibility of a brief meeting with the Secretary. 12. (U) A/S Carson has approved this message. CRETZ