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Viewing cable 09TRIPOLI409, AL-QADHAFI'S AFRICA HAND ON SOMALIA, MAURITANIA, MADAGASCAR

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TRIPOLI409 2009-05-20 06:06 2011-01-31 21:09 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tripoli
O 200646Z MAY 09
FM AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4840
INFO SOMALIA COLLECTIVE
USMISSION USUN NEW YORK IMMEDIATE 
CJTF HOA
CIA WASHDC
CIA WASHINGTON DC
DIA WASHINGTON DC
AMEMBASSY NOUAKCHOTT IMMEDIATE 
AMEMBASSY ANTANANARIVO IMMEDIATE 
AMEMBASSY NDJAMENA IMMEDIATE 
AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM IMMEDIATE 
AMEMBASSY CAIRO IMMEDIATE 
AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA IMMEDIATE 
AMEMBASSY ASMARA IMMEDIATE 
AMEMBASSY NAIROBI IMMEDIATE 
AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI
C O N F I D E N T I A L TRIPOLI 000409 
 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL:  5/19/2019 
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR AU SO MA MR AFU LY
SUBJECT: AL-QADHAFI'S AFRICA HAND ON SOMALIA, MAURITANIA, MADAGASCAR 
AND AU SUMMIT 
 
CLASSIFIED BY: Gene A. Cretz, Ambassador, U.S. Embassy - Tripoli, U.S. Dept of State. REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)

1.(C) Summary: The Ambassador had a wide-ranging discussion on African issues with Libya's senior Africa expert. Topics included: Somalia (Libya urged quick UNSC action to bolster the Transitional Federal Government and blunt the current al-Shabaab offensive); Chad/Sudan (Libya blamed both sides for incursions in violation of the recent agreement); Mauritania (no one wants former President Abdellahi back, opposition to allowing military leaders to stand for election is unreasonable and the international community should send election observers); Madagascar (Libya has not recognized Andry Rajoelina or his government, which plan to hold elections next spring); and the upcoming AU Summit (to be held in the Libyan town of Sirte). End summary.

SOMALIA: LIBYA URGES UNSC ACTION

2.(C) The Ambassador met with one of Muammar al-Qadhafi's trusted Africa hands, MFA Secretary for African Affairs Dr. Ali Treiki, at the latter's request on May 18. Treiki's focus was on the evolving situation in Somalia - he interrupted his conversation with the Ambassador to take a call from Somali President Sheikh Sharif, who provided an update on the situation and asked for Libya's help. Describing the situation as "very bad and really dangerous", Treiki said Libya was consulting with AU Commisioner for Peace and Security Ramtane Lamamra, who was in Tripoli for consultations. Libya's Ambassador to Asmara had conveyed a message to the Eritrean government (NFI), and had been assured that Eritrea was not/not providing material or other support to al-Shabaab. According to Treiki, officials in Asmara claimed that because Eritrea was not a Muslim country, there was no logical reason for it to support Islamic fundamentalists in Somalia.

3.(C) Offering that AU peacekeeping forces in Somalia were "insufficient", Treiki repeatedly pressed the Ambassador as to what could be done to shore up Somalia's Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and blunt the current al-Shabaab offensive. Libya asked the AU Commission for Peace and Security to convene an emergency meeting on May 19 to discuss the situation, but believes UN Security Council action is warranted and necessary. Noting that Libya is ready and eager to cooperate with potential UNSC efforts on Somalia, he urged the U.S. to consult with P-5 counterparts and act quickly. When pressed, Treiki was unclear on whether Libya advocated a Presidential Statement or a UNSCR.

CHAD/SUDAN: LIBYAN ENVOYS IN KHARTOUM AND CHAD

4.(C) Treiki said Libya blamed both Khartoum and N'djamena for the quick collapse of the recent agreement on non-interference between the two. Treiki was to travel to Khartoum May 19 to "deliver a message" (NFI) to President Bashir. He said another Libyan envoy (NFI) was to travel in parallel to N'djamena with a message for President Deby. Conceding that recent cross-border attacks into Chad from Sudan had not been helpful, he noted that both Bashir and Deby were expected to be at the AU Summit in Sirte, Libya July 1-3, which could afford an opportunity for positive engagement. MAURITANIA: FOCUS ON JUNE ELECTIONS

5.(C) On Mauritania, Treiki said he had accompanied Senegal's President Abdoulaye Wade and AU Commisioner for Peace and Security Lamamra on joint mediation visit to Nouakchott last week. The delegation met with deposed President Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdellahi, junta leader-turned-presidential candidate Muhammad Ould Abdelaziz and opposition leader Ahmed Ould Daddah, as well as members of Parliament and the opposition. He said that agreement had been reached on the contours of an interim national government that would include members of the opposition. Claiming that "90 percent of the Parliament" and " a clear majority of the people" were in favor of the coup, he flatly said the return to power of former President Abdellahi was impossible. "The reality of the situation - despite the fact that coups are bad - is that no one wants the old president back", he said.

6.(C) Treiki said the exigent issue now was getting through national elections, currently scheduled for June 6. Based on conversations during the delegation's visit, Libya and the AU believed the opposition must be "more cooperative" and abandon its objection to allowing military leaders to stand as candidates. Characterizing the opposition leaders' position as "unreasonable", he claimed the Mauritanian constitution permitted any military officer or judge who had resigned 45 days or more before a poll to be eligible for election. (Note: We defer to Nouakchott on whether that is indeed the case. End note.) Mauritania's coup leaders had assured Libya and AU members that it would accept all delegations of election observers. Treiki said the AU, Arab Maghreb Union, Arab League, European Union and Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD) would send observers and encouraged the U.S. to do so as well.

MADAGASCAR & AU SUMMIT: LIBYA HAS NOT RECOGNIZED RAJOELINA GOVERNMENT; SIRTE THE VENUE FOR AU MEETING

7.(C) Regarding the May 17 meeting in Tripoli between Muammar al-Qadhafi and Madagascar's would-be president, Andry Rajoelina, Treiki confirmed that Libya had observed AU consensus and not/not recognized Rajoelina's government. Coverage of the visit in Libyan state-owned media was muted - RajoelinaQ pointedly referred to only by name or as "the man who declared himself the head of the High Transitional Presidency", and was not described as the president. According to Treiki, Rajoelina told al-Qadhafi he would hold elections in Madagascar in April/May 2010. On the upcominQummit, Treiki said the venue would be the Libyan town of Sirte (media reports and an AU press release subsequentlQirmed that). Members of the AU PermReps Committee will meet June 24-26, the Executive Council (Ministerial) will convene June 28-30, and the Assembly (summit) will meet July 1-3. Delegations, which the Libyans have asked not exceed 10 persons, are expected to stay in Sirte and the GOL will stage special flights to/from Tripoli. Separately, UK diplomats said the FCO's Minister for African Affairs, Lord Malloch-Brown, will attend the AU Summit. CRETZ