Cablegate: Guinea Talks - 9th Icg-G in Ouagadougou

Published: Tue 15 Dec 2009 07:07 AM
DE RUEHOU #1159/01 3490712
R 150712Z DEC 09
E.O. 12958: Declassify on 8/31/2034
OUAGADOUGO 00001159 001.2 OF 003
Classified by CDA Dennis Hankins for reason 1.4 (b) and (d)
1. SUMMARY: The 9th meeting of the International Contact Group on
Guinea (ICG-G) held December 13 in Ouagadougou was marked by a
unified international community and capable leadership from the
Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union
(AU), and the UN Representative for West Africa. In the face of an
intransigent CNDD delegation (that was taken over by pro-Dadis
hardliners at the last minute), the ICG-G issued a strong statement
calling for continued sanctions against the National Committee for
Democracy and Development (CNDD), an international observer presence
during the transition, and the CNDD's agreement not to participate in
elections. While a compromise position between the CNDD and the
Forces Vives did not appear any closer, the international consensus
in clearly against the return of Dadis and in favor of international
involvement in the transition period. The declaration pushed
mediator Compaore towards a tougher line than he has been willing to
pursue up to now. End Summary.
The 9th ICG-Guinea
2. (U) The 9th Meeting of the ICG-G took place on December 13th in
Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. The U.S. was represented by DAS William
Fitzgerald and accompanied by the Charge d'Affaires. The meeting was
chaired by co-presidents the President of the ECOWAS Commission,
Mohamed Ibn Chambas, and the AU Special Envoy Ibrahima Fall. The
leadership dais was also shared by the Nigerian Junior Minister of
Foreign Affairs Bagudu Hirse and UN SRSG for West Africa Said
Djinnit. Delegations included representatives of Burkina Faso,
Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Liberia, Libya, Russia, the UK, the
European Union Presidency and European Commission, the International
Labor Organization, the Francophonie, the Organization of the Islamic
Conference, and the World Bank. Many groups were represented by
their representatives in Conakry.
French and U.S. Share Positions
3. (C) A pre-meeting breakfast with the French delegation
demonstrated the closeness of the French and U.S. positions regarding
the current situation. The French were represented at the ICG by
Francois Goldblatt, Ambassador to Burkina Faso, Jean Grabling,
Ambassador to Guinea, Stephane Gompertz, MFA Director for Africa and
the Indian Ocean, and Charlotte Montel, Africa Advisor at MFA, who
saw President Compaore's mediation efforts as weak, and hoped that
the events of December 3 would cause Compaore to push the parties
toward a solution that would bring a quick election and minimize the
role of the CNDD in the country's future. The French share the
assessment that Morocco should keep Dadis in country, that any deal
with Dadis is impossible, and that Konate is the better if not sole
option for the transition.
4. (C) The French shared the assessment that President Compaore can
and should play a more productive role as mediator, and that recent
events may lead Compaore to believe that it is in his own political
and, perhaps, economic interest to create a solution that does not
include Dadis. The French claimed not to have any further
information on the location of Dadis' would-be assassin Toumba. The
delegation also believed that a clear and firm message delivered to
Compaore would be more likely to produce results. The French and
U.S. shared some concern that ECOWAS' Chambas has not been a forceful
spokesperson for the ICG-G in past meetings and agreed to urge
stronger African voices (notably Djinnit) to speak up (Comment: As
the meeting progressed this concern was alleviated as all four
African voices were strong starting with Chambas who visibly upset
the CNDD by publicly calling for an ECOWAS observation and security
mission. End Comment).
Co-Chairs stake out a tough opening position
5. (C) In the group's first meeting since the violence of September
28 and the attempted assassination of Moussa Dadis Camara,
co-presidents Chambas and Fall laid out a tough opening position.
While condemning the events of December 3 in Conakry and "any attempt
to destabilize the fragile situation that currently reigns," they
cited the "urgency and opportunity of the moment." They described
the situation in Guinea as having all necessary ingredients to become
"explosive," and suggested the need for an international force to
protect civilians and provide humanitarian assistance in Guinea, a
suggestion which visibly rankled the CNDD. The chairs also stated
bluntly that impunity for repeated human rights violation in Guinea
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would not remain unpunished.
Forces Vives see Guinea as "Stateless"
6. (U) The Forces Vives were first to discuss their position with the
ICG-G and to take questions. The Forces Vives condemned the
prevailing situation in the country, which they categorized as a
complete lack of both liberty and personal security. They claimed to
be heartened by steps taken by Sekouba Konate as the new interim
leadership of the CNDD over the last several days, and believed
Sekouba was someone that they could work with. They were surprised
and disappointed to see the CNDD delegation was composed of hard
liners tied to Dadis and not by the more moderate figures who had
been expected (indeed, the CNDD delegation was headed by Col. Moussa
Keita -- one of the most virulent and explosive of Dadis' cadre).
7. (C) The Forces Vives condemned the attack on President Dadis, but
when asked directly by the French, they stated their belief that
there would be greater opportunity for progress if he were to remain
in Morocco. They claimed that while they had compassion for the
wounded, they had far greater compassion for the Guinean people. The
Forces Vives very clearly declared their support for an international
presence (a "third force") in Guinea that would help to ensure the
peace throughout a transition period, and maintained their insistence
that the CNDD (described as "those who had murdered and raped") not
participate in any future elections. The Forces Vives expressed
their appreciation for the mediation efforts of President Compaore
and the ongoing work of the ICG, but asked that the group make a
strong condemnation of the prevailing situation rather than pointing
timidly at the problem.
CNDD takes an early break and a hard line
8. (SBU) Perturbed by the opening statements of the ICG Presidency
and reportedly miffed that the ICG met with the Forces Vive before
them, the CNDD departed the conference center as soon as the opening
session concluded. The ICG then waited for hours for the CNDD
"rewrite" their response before returning to the negotiations, and
were met with a deeply entrenched position. A sneering and bellicose
Col Moussa Keita stated plainly that the presence of any
international force, whatever its makeup, on Guinean soil would be
considered an attack on Guinea's sovereignty and a declaration of
war. Keita claimed that the CNDD was itself capable of managing a
peaceful, transparent transition to democracy while protecting the
Guinean public. Their only goal, he claimed, was to construct a base
for economic growth, peace, and free elections.
9. (SBU) The CNDD delegation explained that the December 3 attack on
Dadis had made the context of negotiations more difficult and had
rendered the ICG's goal of election in the first half of 2010
unfeasible. They confirmed that they were willing to work through
the ICG to find a solution to the crisis, but insisted that any
effort to restrict any group from participation in any eventual
elections remained completely unacceptable, and would be detrimental
to the ideal of a fully-inclusive Guinean democracy. With the
speaking role shifting between delegation members, the group decried
sanctions on Guinea as both in violation of international law and
counterproductive in encouraging peace and stability. The group
strongly reiterated their complete confidence in President Compaore
in his role as mediator.
10. (U) Chambas told the CNDD representation to understand the new
democratic mood in Africa. Chambas said that military rule in the
region had led to too many catastrophes, and that militaries must
stay out of politics. He stated that no one can be happy with the
current situation of democracy and governance in Guinea, and that
despite CNDD's claim that it would be a "referee" in the new Guinea,
it has failed to ensure the safety of the population and its ability
to restore democracy is questionable. Chambas stated that the
"stories" coming out of the country relating to human rights abuses
made an international force necessary. It was, continued Chambas, in
no way an invasion, simply an offer of assistance to the people of
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An Awkward Intervention African Mediators to Step Up
--------------------------------------------- ------
11. (U) he Representative of the Libyn controlled Community of
Sahel-Saharan States (EN-SAD) intervened to take issue with what he
peceived to be the imposition of unacceptabl restrictions on the
sovereign state of Guinea by the ICG. After a long tirade -
OUAGADOUGO 00001159 003.3 OF 003
questioning the ICG's existence, claiming that the CNDD saved Guinee
after Conteh, tossing accusations of inappropriate interference in
Guinea's affairs at the co-presidents, the representative of Nigeria,
and the non-African states participating in the ICG - the
representatives of the CNDD delivered a hearty round of applause
while other members of the ICG seemed surprised at the outburst.
Group maintains unity
12. (C) Throughout the negotiations, the international community was
by and large on the same footing. The absence of Dadis was viewed as
an opportunity by the vast majority of the membership of the ICG.
There was very little divergence between the positions of the
international organization, the African states, the Europeans, and
the U.S. The gaps were especially minimal between the U.S., France,
and the UK. Because of this unity, the ICG was able to offer a
strong statement -- one that most consciously saw as a call for
Burkinabe President Compaore to take a more dynamic and aggressive
stance than has been seen to date. Most of the negotiation over the
text was over semantics, not substance. The text includes a renewed
call for elections as soon as possible in 2010, the CNDD agreement
not to participate in those elections, and international presence in
Guinea to ensure the peace.
13. (C) Comment: The meeting allowed the international community to
take stock of the situation following the December 3 attempt on
Dadis' life. The ability of the Dadis hard liners to seize control
of the CNDD delegation worked against them -- only convincing the
African leadership through their belligerent manner that there can be
no solution involving Dadis. The situation demonstrated a remarkable
degree of international solidarity -- unfortunately coupled by a
general disappointment with President Compaore's mediation that is
seen both as timid and too prone to meet CNDD demands.
14. (U) This cable has been cleared by DAS Fitzgerald.
15. (U) Conakry Minimize Considered.
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