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Viewing cable 09TRIPOLI371, ENCOURAGING CEN-SAD TO COOPERATE WITH TSCTP AND AFRICOM

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TRIPOLI371 2009-05-06 15:03 2011-01-31 21:09 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tripoli
VZCZCXRO7862
PP RUEHPA
DE RUEHTRO #0371/01 1261532
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P R 061532Z MAY 09
FM AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4791
INFO RHMFISS/CDR USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO 1465
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS 0815
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS 0938
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT 0878
RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEHNJ/AMEMBASSY NDJAMENA 0169
RUEHKH/AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM 0157
RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI 5321
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TRIPOLI 000371 
 
SIPDIS 
 
AFRICOM FOR POLAD, DEPT FOR NEA/MAG 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL:  5/6/2019 
TAGS: PREL MARR PTER AU LY
SUBJECT: ENCOURAGING  CEN-SAD TO COOPERATE WITH TSCTP AND AFRICOM 
 
TRIPOLI 00000371 001.2 OF 002 CLASSIFIED BY: Gene A. Cretz, Ambassador. REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)

1.(C) Summary: Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD) Secretary-General Mohammed al-Madani views the deepening relationship between the U.S. and Libya as a positive sign that his organization can benefit from increased cooperation with the USG on development, political, security, and cultural issues. Playing off Muatassim al-Qadhafi's recent assertion that Libya did not need to join the Trans-Sahara Counter Terrorism Partnership (TSCTP) because it duplicated CEN-SAD's efforts, the Ambassador encouraged al-Madani to re-examine the benefits of TSCTP and to develop a relationship with U.S. Africa Command to coordinate on regional security issues. Al-Madani responded that all member states would welcome training and intelligence sharing with the U.S., but that a strong "boots on the ground" presence would be unwelcome and encourage terrorist cells in the Sahara to strike U.S. and member-state interests in the region. End Summary.

AMBASSADOR PROMOTES TSCTP AS CONGRUENT WITH CEN-SAD MISSION

2.(C) In a May 5 courtesy call with CEN-SAD Secretary-General Mohammed al-Madani, the Ambassador urged a re-examination of Libya's participation in TSCTP. While Muatassim al-Qadhafi had stated to USG officials during his recent trip to Washington that Libya did not need a regional security partnership like TSCTP because of its CEN-SAD membership, Libyan participation in TSCTP would enhance CEN-SAD's capacity to provide regional security and counter-terrorism training and joint exercises. The Ambassador encouraged al-Madani to develop relationships with U.S. Africa Command's leadership, especially given the new administration's renewed focus on the continent. Al-Madani responded by saying that Libya "always prefers cooperation with our friends in the USA" and said U.S. support was critical to ensure that CEN-SAD governments could confront militants in their territory. While acknowledging that U.S. training was a key part of capacity building, he cautioned that American "boots on the ground" would be unwelcome by member states who valued their sovereignty, and that terrorist organizations would use any U.S. presence as a pretext to attack government installations. The Ambassador assured him that the embassy and AFRICOM were aware of the sensitivities and prepared to work with Libya to ensure "red lines" were not crossed. However, at the same time, it was unrealistic to think that an American presence could be entirely invisible if we were to engage in training and other activities.

3.(C) Al-Madani noted that the CEN-SAD region faced crises including terrorist networks operating in northern Mali, southern Algeria, and Mauritania. The ongoing proxy-war in Chad and Sudan left a "vacuum" of power cutting through the middle of the CEN-SAD area that could destabilize all of the neighboring states. He noted that terrorists have settled into the Sahara region and highlighted their marriages to local women as a sign that they feel no pressure to leave. His organization has responded by increasing the number of high-level fora for political, military, and intelligence leaders. He told the Ambassador that CEN-SAD would hold a forum for intelligence service directors sometime in May and that he planned to invite security officers from the U.S., the UK and Spain in an observer capacity. In turn, the Ambassador invited al-Madani to send a representative to an NDU-sponsored seminar in Dakar in June.

CHAD-SUDAN CONFLICT EXACERBATED BY KHARTOUM'S UNWILLINGNESS TO TALK

4.(C) Discussing the Chad-Sudan conflict, al-Madani said the situation is made more complex because the GOS leadership had no serious intention of finding a political solution with the GOC. Instead, the GOS has decided that Deby should be toppled; the GOS had no intention to observe or enforce the Doha Accord. Describing Chad as key to resolving the crisis in Darfur, he said that Libya would not let "regime change by force stand [in Chad]" and cautioned that the GOS must not play "both covert and overt roles" by fighting and talking peace at the same time. While not absolving rebel groups of responsibility, he cited the GOS' attempts to splinter and marginalize the rebels as a sign that Khartoum had no intention of meeting the rebels' "uncomplicated" demands.

5.(C) Comment and bio note: Mohammed al-Madani has been Secretary-General of CEN-SAD since its founding in 1998 by Libya. Muammar al-Qadhafi has described the organization as "the base on which the African pyramid will be built" and member-state diplomats have described it as a vehicle for Libya TRIPOLI 00000371 002.2 OF 002 to broaden its foreign policy reach. Al-Madani previously served as Libya's ambassador to Burkina Faso and Mali and as Deputy Foreign Minister under Abdulati Obeidi. The tenor of his statements made him seem much more like a representative of the Libyan government than the executive of a 28-member regional organization. He studied law in France, but did not practice. Before joining the diplomatic corps, he served as an official in Libya's student union as the officer responsible for the union's foreign affairs. He spoke some English and seemed to understand it well, though he used an interpreter. End comment and bio note. CRETZ