The United States said, as late as January 2009, though some African heads of state viewed the election of Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi as African Union chair as a “lost year” there were areas where it could work with Libya to advance its interests towards engagement with the AU.
One of these was Zimbabwe and its leader Robert Mugabe who had established close ties with Libya during Zimbabwe’s crisis.
According to a cable dispatched by the State Department the United States wanted to explain to Libya the critical importance of having the AU and the Sothern African Development Community follow through on their commitment, as guarantors of the power-sharing agreement, to monitor the progress, or lack thereof, of the unity government.
The US felt it was important for both the AU and SADC to scrutinise Mugabe’s actions and press him to share power in good faith.
It said key benchmarks the United States and the international community would be watching included:
- the immediate release of all political prisoners;
- cessation of political violence and human rights abuses;
- replacement of Central Bank Governor Gideon Gono with a technocrat;
- and a roadmap to national elections.
“The people of Zimbabwe urgently need an inclusive and effective government to begin the reconstruction of Zimbabwe,” the cable said.
Viewing cable 09STATE16169, ENGAGING WITH LIBYA ON AFRICAN UNION ISSUES
OO RUEHBZ RUEHMR RUEHTRO
DE RUEHC #6169/01 0512339
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O R 202322Z FEB 09
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI IMMEDIATE 5733
INFO RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 2322
RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 7606
RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 3379
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 6861
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS 2598
RUEHAN/AMEMBASSY ANTANANARIVO 8812
RUEHAE/AMEMBASSY ASMARA 2494
RUEHJL/AMEMBASSY BANJUL 4575
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 5969
RUEHBZ/AMEMBASSY BRAZZAVILLE 1222
RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS 2875
RUEHJB/AMEMBASSY BUJUMBURA 1948
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO 9988
RUEHRY/AMEMBASSY CONAKRY 1072
RUEHCO/AMEMBASSY COTONOU 5411
RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2024
RUEHDR/AMEMBASSY DAR ES SALAAM 5810
RUEHDJ/AMEMBASSY DJIBOUTI 0137
RUEHFN/AMEMBASSY FREETOWN 8088
RUEHOR/AMEMBASSY GABORONE 6300
RUEHSB/AMEMBASSY HARARE 3474
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 5322
RUEHKH/AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM 7042
RUEHLGB/AMEMBASSY KIGALI 6857
RUEHKI/AMEMBASSY KINSHASA 9276
RUEHLC/AMEMBASSY LIBREVILLE 4824
RUEHLG/AMEMBASSY LILONGWE 0827
RUEHPC/AMEMBASSY LOME 3802
RUEHLU/AMEMBASSY LUANDA 0269
RUEHLS/AMEMBASSY LUSAKA 7469
RUEHTO/AMEMBASSY MAPUTO 3442
RUEHMR/AMEMBASSY MASERU 6453
RUEHMB/AMEMBASSY MBABANE 2331
RUEHMV/AMEMBASSY MONROVIA 3928
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 0688
RUEHNM/AMEMBASSY NIAMEY 4688
RUEHNK/AMEMBASSY NOUAKCHOTT 1627
RUEHOU/AMEMBASSY OUAGADOUGOU 8190
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 3007
RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA 2995
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT 6569
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS 1851
RUEHWD/AMEMBASSY WINDHOEK 7184
RUEHYD/AMEMBASSY YAOUNDE 9520
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 4949
RHMFISS/CDR USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE//
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 05 STATE 016169
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/20/2019
SUBJECT: ENGAGING WITH LIBYA ON AFRICAN UNION ISSUES
REF: A. TRIPOLI 134
¶B. ADDIS 384
¶C. STATE 12900
Classified By: NEA Acting Assistant Secretary Jeffrey Feltman,
Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)
¶1. (U) Action requested – please see paragraph 5.
¶2. (C) The Department read with great interest ref A on
obstacles to success and opportunities for engagement with
Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi in the wake of his election as
Chair of the African Union (AU) . While some African heads
of state may view Qadhafi,s AU chairmanship as a “lost
year,” we recognize that some of Qadhafi’s more inflammatory
rhetoric belies a fair amount of common interest and
cooperation with the United States, and there are areas where
we can work with Libya to advance U.S. interests towards and
engagement with the AU.
¶3. (C) Libya played a positive role in facilitating the
November 2008 exchange of ambassadors between Chad and Sudan
and could further encourage the two countries to end support
for one another’s rebels. Regarding Somalia, a sustainable
resolution of that country’s governance and development
challenges – including piracy – requires the broadest
possible engagement by Somalis of all clans and political
persuasions. Libya has supported a number of Somalia-related
UN Security Council Resolutions, as well as the Djibouti
Peace Process. On Zimbabwe, the AU must follow through on
its commitment to monitor the implementation of the
power-sharing agreement, and carefully scrutinize the actions
of Mugabe and his allies. Key benchmarks should include: the
immediate release of all political prisoners, cessation of
political violence and human rights abuses, replacement of
Central Bank Governor Gideon Gono with a technocrat, and a
roadmap to national elections. Finally, the U.S. seeks to
build up Africans’ ability to provide continental peace and
security. It would be helpful, in this context, to remind
Qadhafi the U.S. Africa Command is a significant part of that
goal and to note our appreciation of Libya,s openness to
STATE 00016169 002 OF 005
engagement with the command.
¶4. (C) We envision at least two Assistant Secretary level
bilateral meetings to discuss African Union issues in the
coming year: possibly one in April, which would give enough
time to make changes in the run-up to the June/July 2009 AU
Summit, and another in October, prior to the January/February
2010 AU Summit.
¶5. (SBU) Post is requested to seek reaction from Qadhafi and
other appropriate interlocutors on the following points.
Extend congratulations on Qadhafi’s election as Chairman of
the African Union, and note that we look forward to working
together with him on areas of common interest and to sort out
differences of opinion.
Offer to engage in bilateral consultations – and with the
African Union Commission – at both the AF A/S and working
level, perhaps in April, which would give enough time to
factor the results of the consultations into the next summit
Note we share Libya’s interest in improving the security of
the region and agree on the need to address the Darfur
conflict from a regional point of view.
Urge Libya to play a helpful role in the Darfur political
process, including by supporting the efforts of UN/AU chief
mediator Djibril Bassole, and refraining from undertaking
parallel efforts that may have the effect of undermining or
conflicting with the discussions underway in Doha, Qatar.
(as necessary) Urge Libya to encourage the Government of
Sudan to both cooperate with UNAMID and exercise restraint in
responding to a possible ICC arrest warrant for President
Bashir. Note: see ref C for further background/detail.
STATE 00016169 003 OF 005
Note a long-lasting solution to the Darfur and Chad crises
requires the cessation of all support by each government to
the others, rebels.
Recognizing Libya,s positive role in facilitating the
November 2008 exchange of ambassadors between Chad and Sudan,
and its integral role in previous Contact Group meetings, ask
Libya to encourage Chad and Sudan to end rebel support and
consider both a Heads of State summit among Chad, Sudan, and
Libya, as well as a Contact Group meeting in the near term.
Ask Qadhafi how the USG and the rest of the international
community can be of assistance.
Note Libya and the United States agree a sustainable
resolution of Somalia,s governance and development
challenges, including piracy, requires the broadest possible
engagement by Somalis of all clans and political persuasions.
Solutions imposed by outsiders are likely to be temporary at
best and delay genuine progress.
Explain that our efforts have been devoted to ensuring the
broad spectrum of clan and political interests represented in
the Djibouti process by the Transitional Federal Government
(TFG) and Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS)
have the time, political space and security environment
required to reach a political accommodation. Current signs
are promising: Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed was elected
President on January 31 and will likely select a prime
minister and cabinet in the coming days.
Urge Qadhafi to encourage Djibouti process participants to
form the unity government and facilitate sufficient security
on the ground in Mogadishu to ensure that it expands its
authority. With this in mind, note we are working to assist
the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) and provide
support for Somali security forces.
Thank Libya for its past support of United Nations Security
Council resolutions 1816, 1838, 1846, and 1851 on Somalia
piracy, and for its support of the Djibouti process and
express our desire to continue our cooperative efforts on the
Council and other fora.
STATE 00016169 004 OF 005
Note that piracy is impacting African states negatively in a
number of ways including by increasing the costs of goods
imported into and exported by sea from coastal and inland
states, putting humanitarian food and other shipments to
Somalia and Ethiopia at risk, disrupting intra-African
coastal trade and shipping, and diverting cruise ships and
some cargo carriers away from Kenya and Tanzania.
Explain the critical importance of having the AU and SADC
follow through on their commitment, as guarantors of the
power-sharing agreement, to monitor the progress, or lack
thereof, of the unity government.
It is important for both the AU and SADC to scrutinize
Mugabe’s actions and press him to share power in good faith,
. Key benchmarks the United States and the international
community will be watching include: the immediate release of
all political prisoners, cessation of political violence and
human rights abuses, replacement of Central Bank Governor
Gideon Gono with a technocrat, and a roadmap to national
elections. The people of Zimbabwe urgently need an inclusive
and effective government to begin the reconstruction of
PEACE AND SECURITY
Note the United States robustly supports the enhancement of
Africa’s Peace and Security Architecture (APSA), including
the Peace and Security Council, the Panel of the Wise, the
Continental Early Warning System, and most significantly, the
Africa Standby Force.
Explain that the continent’s APSA must be supported at all
three levels to be successful: continental (AU), sub-regional
(RECs), and in the member states. USG programs therefore
provide technical, material, and training support at all
three levels to enhance the ability of Africans to manage
conflict, respond to crises, and deal with other threats to
stability such as illicit trafficking in arms or drugs and
Solicit Qadhafi’s help in urging Africans to increase their
STATE 00016169 005 OF 005
ability to deploy even more peacekeepers, especially police
units, and for the African leadership to step up to the
challenges in its maritime domain, including regarding
illegal fishing, piracy, and illicit trafficking.
The African Union and sub-regional organizations should lead
an effort to strengthen legal frameworks, enhance interagency
cooperation at the regional and national levels, and improve
African surveillance and response capacity.
Explain that the United States Africa Command is focused on
conflict prevention and works with African partner militaries
to support defense reform and to help strengthen regional
security and crisis response capacities, especially in the
areas of peacekeeping, maritime security, and
Note we expect Africa Command will make substantial
contributions to U.S. efforts to support the development of
the African Standby Force.
The formation of the command reflects an internal
reorganization designed to improve the coordination of U.S.
military programs in Africa by bringing programs previously
implemented by three separate commands under the
administration of a single command.
Programs in Egypt will continue to be implemented by U.S.
Central Command; Africa Command will coordinate with Central
Command and the Government of Egypt on Africa-wide security
¶6. (U) The Department thanks Embassy Tripoli for its past
support in promoting USG views on African issues and looks
forward to our continued work during Qadhafi’s tenure as AU
Chairman. If there are any questions, please contact AF/RSA
Deputy Director Peter Henry Barlerin.
¶7. (U) Tripoli minimize considered.