C O N F I D E N T I A L ABUJA 000342
E.O. 12958: DECL:02/14/2013
TAGS: PREL MASS MARR NI ECOWAS
SUBJECT: NIGERIA'S OBASANJO ON ARTICLE 98
CLASSIFIED BY AMBASSADOR HOWARD F. JETER. REASON 1.5(b).
Â¶1. (C) Accompanied by AF DAS Bridgewater and DCM, Ambassador
Jeter February 14 urged Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo
to conclude an Article 98 Agreement with the US. Ambassador
Jeter stressed that the Rome Statute specifically provided for
such bilateral accords and pointed out that Nigeria, as the
major force in African PKOs, might want to consider concluding
Article 98 Agreements with countries in the region. The US
could not accept an international arrangement that subjected
its service members to the jurisdiction of a body established
by a treaty to which the US was not Party. He had already
discussed Article 98 with National Security Adviser Aliyu
Mohammed, Attorney-General Kanu Agabi and Minister of Defense
T.Y. Danjuma, the Ambassador added.
Â¶2. (C) After listening to the Ambassador's presentation,
Obasanjo instructed his International Affairs Advisor, Ad'Obe
Obe (who was sitting in) to consider an Article 98 Agreement,
specifically asking Obe to discuss it with Minister of Foreign
Affairs Sule Lamido.
Â¶3. (C) COMMENT: Ambassador Jeter began the discussion of
Article 98 by noting that the USG was not a Party to the Rome
Statute. "It is a pity you are not," Obasanjo had rejoined.
However, as the Ambassador described the ICC's reach and the
risk it posed to Nigerian troops on peacekeeping duty, the
Nigerian President took notice. At one point, Obasanjo
commented that an "International Criminal Court is fine for
drug traffickers, money launderers and the like, but I'm not
sure it's right for the military." Foreign Minister Lamido
and the MFA bureaucracy will likely oppose an Article 98
Agreement, but retired General Obasanjo is now interested to
know how the interests of Nigerian service members can be
protected. The Mission will continue to pursue conclusion of
an Article 98 Agreement with Nigeria vigorously but carefully.
Â¶4. (U) Ambassador Bridgewater cleared this message.