US embassy cable - 85NOFORNMOGADISHU1643

REPORT OF SOMALI OVERTURE T0 SOVIETS

Identifier: 85NOFORNMOGADISHU1643
Wikileaks: View 85NOFORNMOGADISHU1643 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Mogadishu
Created: 1985-02-12 12:49:00
Classification: SECRET
Tags: PREL SD UR US
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
P 121249Z FEB 85
FM AMEMBASSY MOGADISHU
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2255
INFO AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA
AMEMBASSY DJIBOUTI
AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
AMEMBASSY RIYADH
AMEMBASSY BONN
AMEMBASSY LONDON
AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
AMEMBASSY PARIS
AMEMBASSY ROME
S E C R E T N O F O R N MOGADISHU 01643 
 
E.O. 12356:  DECL:  OADR 
TAGS:  PREL, SD, UR, US 
SUBJECT:  REPORT OF SOMALI OVERTURE T0 SOVIETS 
 
1.  (SECRET/NOFORN/WNINTEL/NO CONTRACT/ORCON-ENTIRE TEXT) 
 
- 
2.  AN ARAB AMBASSADOR TOLD ME FEBRUARY 1T THAT 
SOVIET AMBASSADOR ILICHEV HAD TOLD HIM OF BEING 
APPROACHED RECENTLY BY THE SOMALIS ON THE QUESTION 
OF NORMALIZING RELATIONS.  ILICHEV REPORTEDLY 
SAID THAT HE HAD BEEN INVITED TO DINNER BY A RANKING 
OFFICER OF THE SOMALI FOREIGN MINISTRY, WHO HAD WITH 
HIM TWO OTHER MFA OFFICERS.  THE SOMALI'S 
MESSAGE TO ILICHEV HAD BEEN THAT SOMALIA WAS FULLY 
READY TO NORMALIZE ITS RELATIONS WITH THE SOVIET 
UNION.  ACCORDING TO MY ARAB SOURCE, ILICHEV SAID 
THAT HE HAD RESPONDED THAT THE SOVIETS WERE READY 
BUT SEVERAL THINGS WOULD HAVE TO BE DONE.  THE 
SOMALIS WOULD HAVE TO TREAT HIM PRDPERLY AS AN 
AMBASSADOR; THEY WOULD HAVE TD STOP THEIR ANTI- 
SOVIET COMPAIGN; THEY WOULD HAVE TD CALL OFF THE 
SECURITY FORCES WHICH HAD PRACTICALLY BUILT A 
WALL AROUND HIS EMBASSY; AND TASS AND THE SOMALI 
NEWS AGENCY SHOULD EXCHANGE CORRESPONDENTS.  ILICHEV 
REPORTEDLY SAID THAT SO FAR THE SOMALIS HAD NOT RE- 
SPONDED TO HIS SUGGESTIONS. (I RECALL SIRO'S APM-2452 
WHICH MIGHT BE REFERRING TO THE SAME SOMALI-SOVIET 
CONTACT, REPORTING THAT IN MID-JANUARY ILICHEV WAS 
APPROCHED BY THE RECENTLY APPOINTED SOMALI AMBASSADOR 
TO MOSCOW, ABDULLAHI SHEIKH ISMAIL, AND THEN BY THE 
DIRECTOR OF THE MPAS ASIA AND SOCIALIST COUNTRIES 
DEPARTMENT, ABDULLAHI EGAL NUR, TO SEEK SOVIET ASSIS- 
TANCE IN CONVINCING ETHIOPIA TO ENGAGE IN A DIALOGUE 
WITH SOMALIA TO ATTEMPT T0 RESOLVE THE SOMALI- 
ETHIOPIAN CONFLICT.) 
 
- 
3.  AT THE OPENING SESSION OF PARLIAMENT ON 
THE EVENING OF FEBRUARY 11, PRESIDENT SIAD BARRE 
DID NOT MENTION THE UNITED STATES OR WESTERN 
EUROPE BUT SPOKE HARSHLY ABOUT ETHIOPIAN EFFORTS 
TO DESTABLIZE SOMALIA; HE ALSO CRITICIZED SOMALI 
DISSIDENTS WITHOUT NAMING THEM AS SUCH.  HE WENT 
ON TO SAY (ACCORDING TO THE INTERPRETATION; A 
WRITTEN TEXT IS NOT YET AVAILABLE) THAT THE 
ETHIOPIANS WERE RECEIVING EXTENSIVE SUPPORT FROM 
THE SOVIET REGIME AND ITS ALLIES. 
 
- 
4.  COMMENT:  THE REPORT FROM THE ARAB 
AMBASSADOR SOUNDS CREDIBLE. DESPITE HIS STATEMENT 
IN PARLIAMENT, SIAD BARRE MADE A PUBLIC 
STATEMENT LAST WEEK (MOGADISHU 1520) OF HIS READINESS 
TO NORMALIZE RELATIONS WITH MOSCOW; MOREOVER, 
AS WE NOTED, THIS WAS NOT A NEW DEPARTURE IN SIAD'S 
PUBLIC STATEMENTS.  WE ARE NOT SURE WHAT MOTIVE 
SIAD BARRE MIGHT HAVE FOR MAKING A PRIVATE 
APPROACH TO THE SOVIETS ON NORMALIZATION.  MY 
ARAB SOURCE SUGGESTED THAT IT WAS TO 
GOAD US INTO PROVIDING MORE ASSISTANCE, SINCE 
SIAD WOULD ASSUME THAT WE WOULD BECOME AWARE OF 
THE APPROACH.  BUT I THINK IT IS ALSO CONCEIVABLE 
THAT EVEN IF SIAD SEES NO POSSIBILITY OF RECEIVING 
FUTURE MILITARY OR DEVELOPMENT AID FROM THE SOVIETS, 
HE MIGHT THINK IT POSSIBLE TO GET THE SOVIETS TO 
RESTRAIN THE ETHIOPIANS FROM PUTTING PRESSURE ON 
HIS BORDERS. 
 
BRIDGES 

Latest source of this page is cablebrowser-2, released 2011-10-04