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Viewing cable 09TRIPOLI715, AU SUMMIT SERVES AS OPENING ACT FOR QADHAFI'S 40TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION REF: TRIPOLI 570 TRIPOLI 00000715 001.2 OF 003

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TRIPOLI715 2009-09-08 14:02 2011-01-31 21:09 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tripoli
VZCZCXRO0421
OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN
DE RUEHTRO #0715/01 2511401
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O P 081401Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5225
INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 0827
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 1155
RHMFISS/CDR USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI 5770
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 TRIPOLI 000715

SIPDIS DEPT FOR AF/FO, NEA/MAG AND S/USSES E.O. 12958: DECL: 9/8/2019

TAGS: PREL AU KSUM UG CG SU CD SO LY

SUBJECT: AU SUMMIT SERVES AS OPENING ACT FOR QADHAFI'S 40TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION REF: TRIPOLI 570 TRIPOLI 00000715 001.2 OF 003

CLASSIFIED BY: Gene A. Cretz, Ambassador, US Embassy Tripoli, Department of State. REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)

1.(C) The August 31 African Union (AU) Summit Extraordinary Session held in Tripoli produced two documents - the Tripoli Proclamation and the Tripoli Work Plan - aimed at resolving crises on the African continent. Summit attendees adhered to the wishes of the Ethiopian and Eritrean requests to not discuss their conflict in the context of Sudan. Instead, delegates focused on expanding the mandate of AMISOM to give it authority to patrol Somali airspace and territorial waters. The Tripoli Work Plan addressed relations between Chad and Sudan separate from the situation in Darfur but did not result in any significant progress. The abrupt walk-out of Sudanese President Bashir from his August 30 meeting with Qadhafi appears to have been the only news of note from the session, which most observers believe was scheduled primarily to kick off the September 1 celebration of Qadhafi's coup. End Summary.

SUMMIT WORK SESSIONS: GREAT LAKES, DARFUR, SOMALIA

2.(C) The Special Summit of the African Union began with working-level meetings on the three focus areas for the session: the Great Lakes, Darfur, and Somalia. The meetings were supposed to be held concurrently, with the Great Lakes meeting a mile away from the site of the Darfur and Somalia meetings. The Executive Council met only to set the agenda for the Assembly's meeting and made no substantive changes to the Tripoli Declaration or Plan of Work. The final documents calling for resolution of Africa's hot crises were short on specific plans for action and metrics, with most of the text recalling and reiterating previously stated objectives. (Note: Post has only obtained Arabic-language versions of the final documents. End note.)

3.(C) Summit attendees mostly adhered to the wishes of the Ethiopian and Eritrean requests not to discuss their conflict in the context of Sudan. Instead, delegates focused on expanding the mandate of AMISOM to give it authority to patrol Somali airspace and territorial waters. The Assembly called for donor nations to stand up three additional battalions by the end of 2009 and for an international conference on the Horn of Africa before the first quarter of 2010. The overall mood was supportive of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and to expand participation in the Djibouti Process. Somali PM Sharmarke attended the Summit on behalf of the TFG, and AU Commission Chair Jean Ping chaired the working group session on the 30th.

4.(C) The Tripoli Plan of Work addressed relations between Chad and Sudan separate from the situation in Darfur. Delegates highlighted the need for a political resolution between Khartoum and N'Djamena and called for increased peacekeeping forces along the border region. In Darfur, the Assembly expressed pleasure that the security situation was improving and sought to increase cooperation with UN missions in the region. The Assembly also asked the Commission to form election observation teams to deploy to Sudan "before the elections", but with no clear request on their numbers or depth of the mission. Despite rumors that Qadhafi would have Chad and Sudan sign an agreement to ease tension between the two countries, Presidents Bashir and Deby did not have face-to-face meetings. An EU diplomat stationed in Khartoum reported that Bashir walked out of an August 30 meeting with Qadhafi after an hour-long soliloquy by the Leader. However, an Egyptian Poloff thought reports that Bashir was angry due to Qadhafi's earlier remarks on South Sudan's secession were overblown, assessing that Bashir understood that Qadhafi was wont to ramble and that his actions were more important than his words. Rebel unification meetings held separately from the Summit itself will be reported septel.

5.(C) On the Great Lakes, delegates spoke of support for stabilization efforts between the DRC, Burundi, and Rwanda but noted that more needed to be done to prevent the Lord's Resistance Army's attempts to thwart further progress. An Arab delegate told us plans for an international conference on development in Congo and Burundi were replaced for a Burundi-centric conference due to simmering problems between the governments. The final Declaration also made short reference to earlier Assembly and PSC statements on internal crises in Guinea, Madagascar, Cote d'Ivoire, Liberia, Central African Republic, Comoros, and Western Sahara; though delegates in the closed session reported that little attention was given to the one-sentence statements.

OPENING REMARKS REPEAT PREVIOUS THEMES TRIPOLI 00000715 002.2 OF 003

6.(C) The opening session began three hours late with relatively brief remarks from Muammar al-Qadhafi and AU Commission Chairman Jean Ping. Qadhafi used the theme of solving African crises to promote his broader agenda of swift unification of Africa's political, military, and economic bodies into a United States of Africa. He described two types of conflicts: state-to-state belligerence and internal conflicts such as coups and rebellions. On the former, Qadhafi blamed European colonial powers for drawing arbitrary lines across the continent, noting that abandoning the "artificial" borders in favor of a unified supranational body would instantly eliminate conflicts over borders and crises brought on by political divisions. Qadhafi was more coy on internal conflicts, maintaining that, from a legal standpoint, international bodies and third-party states had no right to interfere in the internal problems of another state. Rather, the role of the AU should be to mediate between opposing factions in an effort to bring peace. However, if internal conflict were intensified by exogenous forces (he provided the example of oil-thirsty foreign governments in Sudan), then the AU had a duty to intervene in a protective capacity.

7.(C) Chairperson Ping's remarks were detailed and anodyne. Quoting broadly from his 26-page report issued the week before the Summit, he highlighted the achievements of the Peace and Security Council in its first years of operation. However, with 20 internal conflicts within the past 20 years, 3 million of the world's 10.5 million refugees, and 11.6 million of the 26 million IDPs, Africa still had much work to do. He three times thanked Libya for its work to bring Peace and Security issues to the fore, calling the Summit's work complimentary to the full implementation of the Continental Protocol on Peace and Security, to be completed in 2010. Ping made special note of the symbolic significance that brought the Special Summit into being: the 40th anniversary of the coup that brought Muammar al-Qadhafi to power and the 10th Anniversary of the Sirte Proclamation in which Organization of African Unity heads of state declared their intent to form the African Union.

SUMMIT ATMOSPHERICS: AFRICA KISSES THE RING

8.(C) Libya's management of event logistics was less organized than the three-day summit held in July (ref A). A member of the Ugandan delegation told P/E Chief that they were deposited at a dark hotel after being picked up at the airport on August 29 with no information on meeting times or locations. Libyan protocol, which did not provide any information on how to obtain credentials until August 27, faced lengthy backlogs at the Kabir Hotel. Guma Ibrahim Amer, the Libyan Assistant Secretary-equivalent for African Affairs, spent an hour after the Great Lakes work session shuttling high-ranking Africans through the credentialing process. Observers were less lucky. After attending work sessions with badges held over from Sirte, our delegation (and China's) was told no credentials would be coming on August 30 due to Iftar and evening celebrations. Although the promised credentials never were issued, Emboffs were able to attend as observers with other members of the diplomatic corps. The opening ceremony lasted just under an hour. As attendees filed out, Qadhafi invited the assembled to a cultural event later in the evening at Mitiga Air Base. That event (septel), however, focused entirely on the 40th anniversary of the coup that brought Qadhafi to power, marking a full transition from the AU Summit to Libya-centric themes.

9.(C) As with Sirte, Libyan officials attempted to cover for lack of planning by spending lavishly on food and foreign event planning staff. The president of the Corinthia Hotel told Poloff that five days before the Summit, Libyan Protocol had requested that the Corinthia Group open an expatriate compound still under construction to house Summit attendees. The work was so hurried, that the president himself was installing light bulbs and finishes to the apartments as late as August 29. Similarly, a 333-room Radisson Hotel across from the Summit site was opened two months early to accommodate the influx. Despite these measures, many African contacts grumbled about Libya's handling of the affair -- particularly when they viewed the Summit as little more than a small piece of Qadhafi's celebrations surrounding the September 1 anniversary of the coup that brought him to power. Still, several African delegates acknowledged that they had little choice, with a member of the Ghanaian delegation saying, "we know that nothing will happen [because of decisions taken at the Summit], but no one wants to make the Leader angry."

10.(C) Comment: Short on substance and long on platitudes, this TRIPOLI 00000715 003.2 OF 003 extraordinary summit seemed to serve only as the opening event for Libya's 40th anniversary celebrations. Many observers cynically noted that the Summit likely was called only to ensure an adequate number of heads of state was on-hand for the September 1 celebration. Most attendees nevertheless seemed content to go through the motions to give Qadhafi his day. End comment. CRETZ