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Viewing cable 09LONDON2769,

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09LONDON2769 2009-12-10 17:05 2011-02-04 21:09 CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN Embassy London
VZCZCXRO2855
PP RUEHPA
DE RUEHLO #2769/01 3441711
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 101711Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY LONDON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4289
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 0461
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 1255
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 0965
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 LONDON 002769 

NOFORN SIPDIS 

DEPARTMENT FOR AF/RSA 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/10/2019 

TAGS: PREL MASS PGOV PINR EAID NI NG GV GA XY UK

Classified By: Political Counselor Robin Quinville, reasons 1.4 (b/d).

1.(C/NF) Summary. During December 7 consultations with senior UK Foreign Office officials and Commonwealth Secretariat leadership in London, ECOWAS Chair Mohamed Ibn Chambas said the ECOWAS was working for a return to consensual and constitutional government in Niger by taking an active role in the EU Article 96 dialogue, has asked Morocco to work to keep Guinea President Dadis Camara in Morocco in support of a political resolution, and proposed a joint ECOWAS-Commonwealth delegation led by former Nigerian President Obasanjo visit The Gambia. Chambas said Burkina Faso has "one or two good candidates" to offer as the next ECOWAS Chair, which would have to be a francophone. He said drug trafficking is an increasing concern in the region, that regional economic integration remains an ECOWAS priority, and that stimulus packages were needed in developing countries to counteract the effects of the global economic crisis. He said Brazilian President Lula has asked to attend the next ECOWAS summit and noted that India and China are emerging major players in the region. End summary.

2.(C/NF) ECOWAS Chair Mohamed Ibn Chambas held consultations with FCO Africa Director Adam Wood and FCO Europe and Globalization Director General Nick Baird and had a one-on-one meeting with Commonwealth Secretary General Khamalesh Sharma in London on December 7. He also gave an on-the-record speech at Chatham House think tank. FCO West, Central, and Southern Africa Head Janet Douglas and FCO ECOWAS Desk Officer Jacqueline Richards gave Poloff a read-out of the meetings. 

Niger: Working with the EU --------------------------

3.(C/NF) Chambas raised Niger with Wood in advance of the December 8 EU Article 96 meetings in Brussels with the Government of Niger to promote dialogue about Niger's democracy, to which Chambas said ECOWAS was sending a senior delegation in order to support a return to a consensual and constitutional government. Chambas requested that, wihtin the EU, the UK support the Niger opposition's move to have talks in Abuja rather than Niamey, to which Wood agreed. Richards said the Article 96 consultations were cut short in Brussels because of a room scheduling conflict and that no real decisions had been made. She said EU representatives were generally shocked by how "prepared and savvy" the Niger delegation was, especially in contrast to the Malagasy who had had similar discussions recently. Richards also said Chambas told Wood that ECOWAS had been "too slow to react" on Niger and he personally should have been more aggressive. 

Guinea: ECOWAS's Actions ------------------------

4.(C/NF) Chambas told Wood Nigerian Foreign Minister Ojo Maduekwe had reached out to the Government of Morocco to see what could be done to keep Guinea President Dadis Camara in Morocco. Chambas described Camara "as part of the problem" and fully supported keeping him out of Guinea, which Chambas again repeated in an answer to a question at the Chatham House event. Richards said the CNDD has been criticizing Chambas' public remarks and announced it will not return to negotiations until Camara is well enough to participate. Chambas also said any political agreement to resolve the situation should involve SSR to re-structure the military. He has already been in touch with UN DPKO about contracting retired francophone generals to help with this initiative. He acknowledged the serious risk of instability spreading in the region because of Guinea, especially with ethnic militia training going on. 

The Gambia: Joint Commonwealth-ECOWAS Mission ---------------------------------------------

5.(C/NF) Chambas told Wood he had agreed with Commonwealth Secretary General Khamalesh Sharma earlier in the day that the Commonwealth Secretariat and ECOWAS would send a joint mission to speak with President Jammeh. Chambas has made a request to former Nigerian President Obasanjo to lead the delegation, as he and Jammeh have "a good rapport" based on their military backgrounds. Nigeria: Mum's the Word -----------------------

6.(C/NF) Richards said Chambas was extremely reluctant to LONDON 00002769 002 OF 002 speak about Nigeria given the sensitivity of the situation with President Yar'Adua currently out of the country and unwell. He said the upcoming elections are crucial. 

ECOWAS: A Francophone Next, Ghana Not A Big Player --------------------------------------------- -----

7.(C/NF) Responding to Wood's question about the next ECOWAS chair, Chambas said that it would have to be a francophone and that Burkina Faso had "one or two good candidates," but wouldn't be drawn into offering names. Wood asked if Ghana could play more of a leadership role in the organization, to which Chambas said the "modest character" of Ghana's President meant that the country would not be taking a leading role in the organization or in the region.

 Drug Trafficking ----------------

8.(C/NF) Chambas raised drug trafficking with both Wood and Baird, offering that, following endorsement and positive feedback from the ECOWAS regional approach to counter drug trafficking, EU support would be crucial. He said individual countries still need to do a lot of work to get their legislation in order and to bolster their policing capacity, both of which ECOWAS could help with. He also said that he was increasingly concerned that West Africa was moving from simply being a transit point for drugs to actually being a consumer of narcotics.

 Regional Trade, Financial Crisis, and Development Partners --------------------------------------------- -------------

9.(C/NF) Chambas told Baird ECOWAS continues to work on harmonization of regional economic policies, developing a better socioeconomic infrastructure, and increasing trade in the region. He highlighted the fact that the financial crisis was global in scale and needed to be global in response. The impact in the region had been felt because of reduced remittances, a sharp drop in the price of commodities, and decreased trade finance credit. He supported a stimulus packages for developing countries. He noted that while the EU remained a strong partner in the region, China was becoming increasing important because of their "flexible" and "quick" financing for projects. He also said India had given USD 250 million for projects in the region, all of which would be implemented by Indian companies. 

South-South Cooperation -----------------------

10.(C/NF) Chambas told Wood that Brazilian President Lula had requested to be invited to the next ECOWAS Summit, which he thought would happen. Visit London's Classified Website: XXXXXXXXXXXX 
Susman