Cablegate: Somalia: Uk Set to Put Resources to New Policy

Published: Fri 15 Jan 2010 04:04 PM
DE RUEHLO #0089/01 0151604
P 151604Z JAN 10
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 LONDON 000089
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/15/2020
SUBJECT: SOMALIA: UK SET TO PUT RESOURCES TO NEW POLICY REF: 09 LONDON 2435 Classified By: Political Counselor Robin Quinville, reasons 1.4 (b/d).
1.(C/NF) Summary. Foreign office officials anticipate receiving ministerial approval on January 18 for a new resource package for Somalia, which will include GBP 9 million (USD 14.4 million) in new assistance funds and authorization for creation of a "shadow embassy" for Somalia based in Nairobi. The UK plans to increase its dialogue and development assistance with Somaliland and Puntland and also hopes to establish a means of allowing regular visits throughout Somalia. The UK "absolutely supports" sanctions against al-Shabaab, but wants to make sure it is done right. The emerging preference in the Foreign Office appears to be for a humanitarian carve-out through the Somalia Sanction Monitoring Group's mandate, which is up for renewal in March. On Kenya's Jubaland initiative, the Foreign Office remains pessimistic and would like to consider a joint U.S.-UK demarche to the Kenyans. At the end January, an Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jama'a (ASWJ) delegation will visit London to meet with Somali Diaspora groups, and the Foreign Office will meet them. Planning is underway for the EU training mission, which would train 1,000 individuals in two tranches in Uganda over 12 months. Potiential obstacles, however, remain: salaries, command-and-control issues, and logistics. The UK sees selecting a replacement for UN Special Representative Ould Abdullah as critical; it will be important to have someone who is a good manager and who can corral the international community and donors' efforts. If approved, the UK's new resources for Somalia will represent a significant shift in the UK's Somalia policy, especially in a resource-scarce environment, where funding for many of the UK's programs around the world is being reduced. End summary.
2.(C/NF) The UK Cabinet Sub-Committee on Africa will consider for final approval on January 18 a new resource package for the UK's new policy focus on Somalia (reftel), Foreign Office Somalia Unit head Gill Atkinson told Poloff on January 14.Given previous statements of support, Atkinson anticipates ministers will approve the proposed package. If approved, the UK's new resources for Somalia will represent a significant shift in the UK's Somalia policy, especially in a resource-scarce environment, where funding for many of the UK's programs around the world is being reduced.
The New Support Package - Money and People ------------------------------------------
3.(C/NF) The new package will include GBP 9 million (USD 14.4 million) of conflict prevention funding, which Atkinson anticipates will be used to support AMISOM, the Transitional Federal Government (TFG), the Somaliland and Puntland authorities, and other development initiatives. Ministers will also consider creation of a "shadow embassy" for Somalia, to be based in Nairobi. The office will be headed by a counselor-level UK diplomat and will possibly include one to two reporting officers, a development assistance officer from the Department of International Development (DFID), and a military attache for the Ministry of Defense (MOD). Additionally, ministers will consider approval of a proposal that will allow for regular visits to Somalia. Atkinson noted that the UK Government is still working to find internal funding for the visits, given that the security detail requirements will be very expensive.
4.(C/NF) Atkinson said that the Foreign Office can see the potential attraction for the Kenyans to pursue their Jubaland initiative, but that the UK does not think it will be successful. The UK is interested to know if the USG sees merit in jointly demarching the Kenyans about not pursuing it. If the Kenyans insist, Atkinson suggested that a proposal be made to the Kenyans for a long-term reconciliation process that would result in military/para-military activities only if needed and in the context of reconciliation talks. Atkinson said that Baroness Kinnock, during her on-going visit to Kenya, plans to speak with both TFG President Sheikh Sharif and the Kenyans about the Jubaland initiative, mainly to assess where they have gotten to in their thinking before taking a decision on the UK position about it. Additionally, the British Embassy in Ethiopia is making similar inquires with the Ethiopia LONDON 00000089 002 OF 003 authorities.
Somaliland and Puntland - Supporting Stability --------------------------------------------- -
5.(C/NF) Practically speaking, Atkinson said that the UK Government had not increased its dialogue with the authorities in Somaliland and Puntland. She said they hope to after ministers have approved the new resources. Additionally, they plan to start development assistance cooperation with both regional authorities. Atkinson said the UK wants to "support stability" where it is in Somalia.
Meeting with Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jama'a (ASWJ)
6.(C/NF) An ASWJ delegation will be visiting London at the end of January for engagement with the Somali Diaspora in the UK, and Atkinson said the Foreign Office plans to take the opportunity to meet with the delegation. The main objectives of the meeting will be to discuss the ASWJ's relationship with the TFG, to learn more about the situation on the ground, and to hear more about ASWJ's forward planning.
7.(C/NF) Atkinson said the UK "absolutely supports" sanctions against al-Shabaab, but wants to make sure it gets done right. DFID is currently undertaking an assessment of how humanitarian aid is delivered in other places in the world with similar legal constraints. She explained that while the UK may be able to live with the "gray legal space" related to delivery of humanitarian aid in al-Shabaab held areas, it is likely that the UK's preference will be for a humanitarian carve-out. She further said that given the time constraints on agreeing the AMISOM mandate by the end of the month, the UK sees the Somalia Sanctions Monitor Group mandate, which is up for renewal in March, as the appropriate vehicle for the humanitarian carve-out language, not the AMISOM mandate (which would conflate sanctions and peacekeeping issues). She said that the UK has no problem with going ahead with introduction of the al-Shabaab list before the March mandate renewal. The Foreign Office Sanctions Teams subsequently confirmed that the UK "definitely" wants to list al-Shabaab as an organization and suggested that the monitoring group mandate could be brought forward for renewal to accommodate the humanitarian carve out.
EU and Training
8.(C/NF) Atkinson said that planning for the EU training mission is well under way, with the Spanish-led assessment trip having occurred in mid-December. While the plans are still being finalized, it is likely that a small-scale, light touch mission with training by other African troops will be proposed. The training will take place in Uganda in two tranches of 1,000 individuals over 12 months. She predicted that the potential pitfalls will be around salaries, command-and-control issues, and logistics. EU High Representative for Foreign and Defense Policy Cathy Ashton is interested in seeing the Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP) mission come to fruition, as it will be the first post-Lisbon treaty force generation and training mission. According to Atkinson, the UK Government has made a concerted effort to see Ashton engaged on Somalia, as the EU is already dedicated so many resources to efforts there. (NOTE: In a separate discussion with the Foreign Office EU Correspondent, he suggested that Ashton needed more information on the proposed operation. END NOTE.) She said there has been some consideration of appointing an EU Special Representative, but that no decisions have been made.
UN Appointments
9.(C/NF) On the UN, Atkinson said the replacement of Special Representative ould Abdullah will be critical; it will be important to get someone who is a good manager who can deal corral the international community and donors' efforts. The preference is for an African and/or Muslim. She also asserted that the UK would like to push the UN to have a more joined-up approach that would see the various UN family LONDON 00000089 003 OF 003 agencies based in Nairobi working together better. Visit London's Classified Website: XXXXXXXXXXXX SUSMAN
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