Wikileaks: Ethiopia proposed ‘semi-recognition’ for Somaliland

A leaked Cable of US Embassy Addis Ababa shows Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi lobbying for a ‘semi-recognition’ status for Somaliland, a breakaway northern territory of Somalia.

In a January 30, 2009 meeting with Assistant Secretary Phil Carter, the Ethiopia Premier was quoted as saying that:Somaliland

he(Meles) has already broached the notion of an interim- or semi-recognition, along the lines of what the Palestinian Authority enjoys, with Somaliland President Kahin Riyale, and that Riyale has become increasingly receptive to the strategy……the next steps must be for others in the international community to help convince the Somalilanders of such an approach.

Meles argued that granting a "semi-recognition" for Somaliland would be ‘a critical step necessary to enhance the international community’s ability to support Somaliland on regional security/stability and in its own domestic efforts toward democratization.’ He stressed further that ‘the international community’s status quo relationship with Somaliland is untenable and that Somaliland needs a way around the issue of legal recognition to allow the international community to "recognize some authority within Somaliland with which it can engage”.

While accepting the Assistant Secretary’s criticism of Somaliland’s internal political dynamics in the prior two years and the need to hold credible elections as planned, Meles Zenawi insisted that ‘Somaliland’s democratic process cannot be sustained without some kind of interim recognition which can allow for the provision of international assistance to bolster Somaliland’s own democratic process.’ [Note that the 2010 Presidential election went as planned and Somaliland managed a peaceful transfer of power to an opposition party, albeit with some hitched in ...]

However, Somaliland needs a "good sponsor" within the African community to advance the cause, Meles observed. Speaking of potential sponsors, Meles suggested that:

Djibouti would be the best choice, and acknowledged that Ethiopia would be the worst (as the move risked only fueling detractors’ arguments that Ethiopia is bent on breaking up Somalia).

Once the support of Africans is secured, ‘the onus would be on the U.S. and UK to make the Somaliland semi-recognition case to the Europeans and others in the international community’, Meles outlined the strategy. 

Read the Cable below.

********************

Reference ID – 09ADDISABABA260
Created – 2009-02-02 14:31
Released – 2011-08-30 01:44
Classification – CONFIDENTIAL
Origin – Embassy Addis Ababa
VZCZCXRO0925
OO RUEHDE RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHDS #0260 0331431
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 021431Z FEB 09
FM AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3588
INFO RUCNSOM/SOMALIA COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUZEFAA/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEPADJ/CJTF HOA PRIORITY
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L ADDIS ABABA 000260
SIPDIS
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/30/2018
TAGS: PREL PGOV SO ET

SUBJECT: ETHIOPIA MAKES CASE FOR SOMALILAND "SEMI-RECOGNITION"
Classified By: Ambassador Donald Yamamoto for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

¶1. (C) On the margins of a discussion with Acting AF Assistant Secretary Phil Carter On January 30, Ethiopia Prime Minister Meles made the case for "semi-recognition" of Somaliland as a critical step necessary to enhance the international community’s ability to support Somaliland on regional security/stability and in its own domestic efforts toward democratization. Meles argued that the international community’s status quo relationship with Somaliland is untenable and that Somaliland needs a way around the issue of legal recognition to allow the international community to "recognize some authority within Somaliland with which it can engage."

¶2. (C) Meles accepted Acting A/S Carter’s argument that Somaliland’s internal political dynamics over the past two years have not helped their case, and agreed that the region must get back on track and hold credible elections as planned this spring. Still Meles argued that Somaliland’s democratic process cannot be sustained without some kind of interim recognition which can allow for the provision of international assistance to bolster Somaliland’s own democratic process.

¶3. (C) Meles noted that he has already broached the notion of an interim- or semi-recognition, along the lines of what the Palestinian Authority enjoys, with Somaliland President Kahin Riyale, and that Riyale has become increasingly receptive to the strategy. Meles argued to Carter that the next steps must be for others in the international community to help convince the Somalilanders of such an approach. Then, Somaliland needs a "good sponsor" within the African community to advance the cause. Meles suggested that Djibouti would be the best choice, and acknowledged that Ethiopia would be the worst (as the move risked only fueling detractors’ arguments that Ethiopia is bent on breaking up Somalia). Once the strategy had support among African states, Meles argued that the onus would be on the U.S. and UK to make the Somaliland semi-recognition case to the Europeans and others in the international community.

YAMAMOTO
**************************************

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Comments

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  7. tolesa firesa says:

    it is not surprising to see that ethiopia gives recognition to all classes and states of somalia as much as possible.Therefore……….

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