Viewing cable 02ABUJA252

02ABUJA2522002-01-28 13:28:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Abuja
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ABUJA 000252 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/28/2012 
REF: STATE 2975 
Classified by Ambassador Howard F. Jeter; Reasons 1.5 (b) and 
¶1. (U) This is an action message; see para 12. 
¶2. (C) SUMMARY: During a January 24 call on the Ambassador, 
ECOWAS Deputy Executive Secretary Diarra gave a brief 
read-out from the ECOWAS Summit in Dakar, positively 
describing additional funding and staffing for the Peace and 
Security Department.  Diarra sought the Ambassador's advice 
on the upcoming EUCOM visit dealing with the creation of an 
OpsCenter for ECOWAS.  Diarra noted the Nigerien Government 
had sought ECOWAS assistance to join ACRI.  On Liberia, 
Diarra agreed the venue of the first meeting on Liberian 
reconciliation should be outside the country to ensure wide 
attendance and to avoid manipulation by President Taylor.  At 
the ECOWAS Summit, Liberia extracted a pledge from the other 
summiteers to condemn LURD activity in Lofa County as illegal 
attacks against a duly constituted government.  The ECOWAS 
Mediation and Security Council will consider sanctions 
against the LURD at its next meeting.  END SUMMARY. 
¶3. (C) On January 24, ECOWAS Deputy Executive Secretary 
Cheikh Diarra, accompanied by Military Advisor Colonel M. 
Dixon Dikio called on Ambassador Jeter.  PolCounselor and 
PolMilOff also attended. 
¶4. (C) DAKAR OUTCOMES: Surprised that we had not yet received 
the Dakar communiqus, Diarra promised to forward them soon 
(he did the next day).  He described Dakar positively. 
Regarding the new ECOWAS Chairman, President Wade, Diarra 
quipped, "We are happy and we are concerned."  If possessed 
of the requisite political will, Wade was uniquely placed to 
make a positive difference by bridging the gap between ECOWAS 
and UEMOA in the areas of economic integration, Diarra 
believed.  In a brief aside with PolCouns after the meeting, 
Diarra worried that there had been no contact between Wade 
and the ECOWAS Secretariat since the Dakar Summit.  He hoped 
that this did not presage inattention to ECOWAS by Wade. 
¶5. (C) Meanwhile, Diarra noted that the ECOWAS budget had 
been approved.  He had been instructed to complete 
recruitment for his Department, including the OpsCenter, by 
June.  At Dakar, the Heads-of-State had also committed to 
fully implement the community levy.  (COMMENT: We assume that 
Diarra meant the .5 percent customs levy that ECOWAS 
countries are now required to pay to support the Conflict 
Resolution Mechanism. END COMMENT.)  Since only four or five 
countries were current, this commitment, if implemented by 
members, would make a big difference in ECOWAS' ability to 
fund its projects and plans, he said. 
¶6. (C) MONITORING STABILITY: Diarra described the collection 
and analysis process in mind for ECOWAS.  The OpsCenter 
should be able to collect, analyze and disseminate 
information.  Additionally, it would contain a military 
planning and operations cell for peacekeeping and 
humanitarian assistance activities.  Thus far, directors of 
the four zonal monitoring stations (Banjul, Cotonou, 
Monrovia, and Ouagadougou) had been hired, and staff for the 
stations had been nominated.  However, the staff needed 
training in analyzing data and trends, and he expected the 
West Africa Regional Program (WARP) agreement signed last 
year would provide this assistance, though he was waiting for 
a response from WARP.  Funding to equip the monitoring 
stations themselves was being provided by the EU, but this 
support also had not yet materialized.  Additionally, the EU 
had appointed a Belgian advisor to ECOWAS for three years to 
assist with coordinating EU support.  ECOWAS had also sourced 
an electronic map and database system, modeled after the UN's 
system, from a company called Rectas (based at Obafemi 
Awolowo University in Ibadan).  Ideally, the monitoring 
center would eventually be connected to the national security 
systems in each member country, in addition to the monitoring 
¶7. (C) EUCOM VISIT: Diarra emphasized that he wanted to make 
sure the EUCOM team, coming for further discussions on 
communications assistance for the OpsCenter, received 
briefings from the Rectas team and the EU Advisor, and that 
the visit was fruitful.  Ambassador Jeter emphasized that 
Diarra and his team should make sure they had a clear picture 
of what they wanted, and communicate their vision for the 
OpsCenter to the EUCOM team.  Diarra stated that they wanted 
to be able to communicate with the governments of 
members-states, zonal monitoring stations, and any ECOWAS 
Force Commanders in the event of future ECOWAS peacekeeping 
operations.  Ambassador Jeter said that he was unsure that 
funding for monitoring stations would be likely, particularly 
for Monrovia and Ouagadougou, given the destabilizing roles 
that Taylor and Campaore had played in the region and their 
involvement in the illicit diamond trade.  For now, the 
Ambassador said, it might be better to think in terms of 
communications linkages between ECOWAS headquarters and those 
states that had been consistent contributors to ECOWAS 
operations.  Diarra understood, noting that the Taylor 
government had been less than helpful to ECOWAS in locating 
an appropriate building for the monitoring station in 
Monrovia or in allowing the establishment of an ECOWAS radio 
station there. 
¶8. (C) RECONCILING LIBERIA: ECOWAS was working with the 
Carter Center to arrange for a Liberian reconciliation 
conference.  The process had moved in fits and starts, as 
President Taylor had first supported the idea of a meeting 
outside Liberia but then reversed course to insist that 
Monrovia be the venue.  Diarra agreed that a conference 
outside of Liberia was needed to ensure inclusive attendance 
and to prevent manipulation of the event by Taylor. 
¶9. (C) Diarra went on to note that in Dakar, the GOL had 
requested ECOWAS to condemn the LURD incursions in Lofa 
County as an illegal attempt to seize power through 
extra-constitutional means. (Comment: Such a request coming 
from Taylor, is laced with irony.  Twelve years ago, Taylor 
was in the LURD's shoes and he considered ECOWAS a harmful 
interloper - now he wants to use it as a shield.  End 
Comment.)  After reviewing a GOL report on the LURD, the 
Mediation and Security Council will consider sanctions 
against the LURD at its next meeting.  The Council would 
likely support some kind of sanctions, such as travel 
restrictions, against members of the LURD.  Dikio, describing 
his last visit to Lofa County, characterized the area as a 
"collection of rejects from the sub-region," (RUF, various 
mercenaries, Guinean dissidents, Burkinabe and maybe even 
some renegade Nigerians!) and agreed that Liberia's stability 
needed to be watched closely, particularly so that trouble 
there does not undermine hard won progress in Sierra Leone 
¶10. (C) NIGER AND ACRI: Diarra revealed that he had received 
a letter from the Government of Niger, asking for support 
from ECOWAS to join ACRI (In fact, Embassy Niamey made this 
case in Niamey 1827).  Ambassador Jeter noted that ACRI was 
undergoing review in Washington and that it remained unclear 
what shape ACRI would take.  Meanwhile, we would pass the 
message to Washington. 
¶11. (C) COMMENT: Generally pleased with the outcome of the 
Dakar Summit, Diarra seemed charged to move his Department 
forward in 2002.  Diarra is focussing on the establishment of 
the ECOWAS OpsCenter.  EUCOM will find him cooperative, and 
we believe this project could significantly improve ECOWAS 
capacity in conflict prevention.  Meanwhile, incoming ECOWAS 
Executive Secretary Mohammed Ibn Chambas is due to start work 
the first week of February.  His predecessor Lansana Kouyate 
will finish at ECOWAS in mid-February.  We hope the overlap 
will not only give them a chance to have a smooth exchange of 
the baton, but will allow Ambassador Jeter to meet with them 
simultaneously, ensuring continuity in our working 
relationship with the Secretariat. 
¶12. (C) ACTION REQUEST: As Kouyate prepares to leave and 
Chambas prepares to take over the helm of the ECOWAS 
Secretariat, letters from Washington (from the Assistant 
secretary or from Secretary Powell himself) congratulating 
Kouyate on a job well-done and pledging our continuing 
support for the new Executive Secretary would be appropriate. 
 This gesture would symbolize our strong engagement with 
ECOWAS and our hopes for the future of the organization.  The 
Embassy will propose text for the suggested letter, which 
will be forwarded to AF/W.  END ACTION REQUEST.