C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ABUJA 002629
DEPT FOR AF DAS PERRY; AF/W FOR ARIETTI
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/09/2012
TAGS: PREL MOPS XY LI NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: EMBASSY DELIVERS LETTER OF PROTEST TO
REF: A. ABUJA 2566
Â¶B. STATE 167471
Classified by Ambassador Howard F. Jeter; Reasons 1.5 (b) and
Â¶1. (C) On September 6, the Ambassador wrote to ECOWAS
Executive Secretary Mohammed Chambas regarding the
circulation by the Liberian Government of an unauthorized
ECOWAS military mission report alleging U.S./UK complicity
and military support for the LURD. Dr. Chambas is scheduled
to return to Abuja this week and we will follow up with
Chambas on the course of action on this issue that he had
previously outlined. For the record, following is the full
package delivered to ECOWAS.
Â¶2. (C) (Ambassador's Cover Letter)
Dear Dr. Chambas:
I am forwarding you the text of a message from the Department
of State expressing the serious concern with which the United
States Government views the actions of representatives of the
Government of Liberia in circulating to governments of ECOWAS
member-states copies of the Draft Security Assessment Report
of the ECOWAS Military Mission to Liberia.
The sole reason that the Liberian Government has circulated
the report is because the report unfortunately contains false
allegations that the American and British governments support
the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD).
This tack is being employed by the Liberian Government to
discredit my government's efforts to seek a peaceful and
equitable solution in Liberia, to create friction between
ECOWAS and the United States Government, and to divert
attention away from the real issues in Liberia, issues of
poor governance, mismanagement and regional adventurism and
By way of this letter and attached message, we request the
Secretariat issue a statement clarifying that the allegations
in the draft report do not represent the official position of
ECOWAS, that the allegations are untrue and unfounded, and
that ECOWAS did not authorize the release of the draft report
by Liberian representatives.
We do not intend to release the text of this letter, but
await your early response.
Â¶3. (C) (Beginning Text of Message)
The United States is troubled that representatives of the
Government of Liberia appear to be circulating, in various
capitals, copies of the June 14, 2002 'Security Assessment
Report of the ECOWAS Military Mission in Liberia'. In that
report, the military team includes inaccurate, unattributed
and diplomatically harmful statements regarding alleged
American and British support to the Liberians United for
Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD). Specifically, the report
claims that the "LURD seems to be... enjoying discreet
support from Kamajors of Sierra Leone, the USA and Britain."
As we have often stated, the United States Government has not
and does not provide military or other support to the LURD,
either directly or through any third country. Rather, the
United States has called on the LURD to cease its campaign of
violence in Liberia and, along with the democratic opposition
in Liberia, seek a peaceful
resolution to that country's political troubles.
Furthermore, the United States has called on regional
governments to deny assistance to the LURD and other groups
engaged in armed attacks into or within neighboring
countries. Any such support to the LURD clearly runs counter
to our mutual goal of stabilizing the Mano River Union region.
We consider the participation of LURD leaders in recent
political meetings with Liberian opposition figures to be a
positive step. The apparent Liberian efforts to find an
audience for the military assessment report would suggest a
further level of bad faith on the part of that government.
If the Government of Liberia is serious about national
reconciliation, it must take a variety of confidence-building
measures. It should lift the ban on public gatherings;
release all political prisoners; agree to independent,
credible mediation to set "rules of the road" for the 2003
elections, post-election policy, and disarmament; and in
general seize the present opportunity to create genuine
conditions for peace and economic recovery. While the LURD
incursion can in no way be condoned, the failings of
Liberia's current government form the basis for the country's
ongoing political and economic decay.
We ask that the ECOWAS Secretariat publicly correct the
inaccurate allegations of U.S. and UK support for LURD
military activities, at the earliest possible opportunity.
Â¶4. (C) Dr. Chambas was travelling when this letter was
delivered but he has since returned and we await his
response. We will inform the Department through official
channels as soon as we receive a reply.