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2001-07-05 15:37:00
Embassy Abuja
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 ABUJA 001587 


E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/02/2011

Classified by Ambassador Howard F. Jeter, reason 1.5(B/D)

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 ABUJA 001587


E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/02/2011

Classified by Ambassador Howard F. Jeter, reason 1.5(B/D)

1. (C) Ambassador Jeter met July 2 with National Security
Advisor (NSA) Aliyu Mohammed. Regional issues dominated
discussions. The NSA noted GON support for "internal
dialogue" outside Liberia. He indicated the GON would host
an Abuja-based John Garang/Sadiq Al-Mahdi meeting on Sudan,
and voiced support for an expanded UN presence in DROC. The
NSA said Jonas Savimbi had requested a meeting with Obasanjo,
but the GON wished to speak to Angolan President Dos Santos
first. He indicated GON support for Namibian Foreign
Minister Gurirab for the OAU SecGen position, and said that
the Western Sahara did have a full-fledged Embassy in Abuja.
Regarding bilateral mil-mil assistance, the NSA said that all
OFR trucks had now been accounted for, including the two that
had gone missing, and would be shipped to Sierra Leone for
use by the Nigerian UNAMSIL contingent. He pledged to solve
the problem of lack of counterparts for MPRI after the
Ambassador indicated the program appeared to be failing.
Mohammed also asked for another complete set of requirements
for the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) assessment, said
the GON would work hard to combat trafficking in women and
children, indicated renewed efforts to ensure a larger budget
for NDLEA, and said Obasanjo would convene a meeting of Niger
Delta leaders with oil companies, NGOs, and community
stake-holders to once again explore the prospects for peace
and development. Embassy asked that the Embassy also be
invited to this meeeting. End summary.

2. (U) Ambassador Jeter met July 2 with the NSA, General
(ret.) Aliyu Mohammed, in Abuja. Also in attendance were
Regional Affairs Counselor Twombley paying his farewell call,
and Poloff. Mohammed's Assistant, Colonel Idris was also
present as notetaker. This meeting was designed, inter alia,
as a follow-up on regional issues
raised by President
Obasanjo during his May visit to Washington.

3. (C) On Sierra Leone, the NSA optimistically assessed the
disarmament process, although he expressed concern, with the
rainy season underway, of possible weather delays. Unaware
that Ambassador William Swing's name had surfaced regarding
the UN SRSG position in Sierra Leone, the NSA said that the
GON would probably prefer that Ambassador Adeniji continue in
that position, but he would "check on that." Ambassador told
the NSA that from the indirect reading he had gotten from
President Obasanjo during an earlier inquiry, the issue
seemed to be closed and we were not asking that it be
revisited. Ambassador Jeter said that he was simply
informing the NSA so that he would be aware.

4. (C) On the subject of "internal dialogue" in Liberia,
Ambassador Jeter reprised his discussion with ECOWAS ExecSec
Kouyate and gave his view that any attempt to include Taylor
or conduct the dialogue within Liberia would risk both
legitimizing Taylor and embittering Conte of Guinea. It had
to be done outside Liberia. The NSA, although humorously
paraphrasing a local proverb, "You can't shave a head if the
head (Taylor's) isn't there," said that the GON would be
willing to host such a "dialogue," or support it logistically
at some other forum outside Liberia, if the U.S. thought this
would be worthwhile. Ambassador said that this was not a
U.S. issue, and it was really up to the region to decide how
to proceed. Kouyate still seemed very interested in the
idea, Ambassador said. "I will contact President Konare of
Mali," the NSA replied, "and Executive Secretary Kouyate on

5. (C) On Sudan, Mohammed said that the GON would soon host a
meeting between John Garang and Sadiq al-Mahdi, and that
al-Mahdi was already in the country. Obasanjo would also
raise the issue at the upcoming OAU summit in Lusaka.
Mohammed said that the general perception within the GON was
that Garang was the problem. Ambassador Jeter responded that
the USG was reviewing its Sudan policy, particularly
regarding Sudan's support for terrorism, its interference
with humanitarian operations, and the likely prospect of a
viable peace process. Past bombings of humanitarian workers
had provoked widespread anger within the USG, the Ambassador
said. The NSA said the GON had asked Sudan to halt the
bombing, and thought that it had, but Jeter said it was not
so clear that Sudan was complying with this request, beyond a
brief pause. Ambassador said that we would seek up-to-date
information from the department on current humanitarian

6. (C) On the DROC, Mohammed expressed general satisfaction
with Kabila the Younger during his short reign as President.
The country faced an enormous number of problems, not the
least being the continuing presence of elements of nine
foreign armies on her soil, he said. But Kabila was
performing well. Nigeria had 33 police trainers in Kinshasa,
and looked for other ways to assist, he said. The clear
solution, he noted, was greater UN involvement, together with
useful interventions by outside parties.

7. (C) On Angola, the NSA said that Savimbi had asked for a
meeting with Obasanjo, but he had been told to "stand by."
The GON meant to check with President Dos Santos before
taking any action on Savimbi's request, said Mohammed.
Obasanjo hoped to confer with Dos Santos at the OAU summit in
Lusaka. Moving briefly to the race for the Secretary General
of the OAU, Mohammed said that the GON supported Namibian
Foreign Minister Gurirab. An earlier deal involving SADC
support for Konare of Mali had fallen through when Konare
withdrew, and now the GON felt obligated to support Gurirab,
particularly given the request of President Mbeki of South
Africa to do so.

8. (C) On Western Sahara, Mohammed acknowledged that the GON
had opened official relations with the Sharawi Republic, but
he was not sure at what level. (Note: the Moroccan Embassy
tells us that the Sahrawi Embassy is represented by an
Ambassador, and that the Sahrawi Mission enjoys the normal
range of diplomatic contacts with the GON. End Note). The
NSA went on to say that the GON supported the Baker UN
initiative, hoped it would continue, and hoped the Bush
Administration would support it, too.

9. (C) On bilateral mil/mil assistance, the Ambassador said
that matters were proceeding "much better" on various fronts.
The DATT enjoyed a much better relationship with his
counterparts. The three bases had been identified for OFR
III, and work would begin soon to ready them for OFR
training. The Ambassador noted that, on the subject of
trucks for OFR III, unless the trucks now in Nigeria from OFR
I were sent to Sierra Leone, we would be unable to provide
trucks for OFR III.

10. (C) Idris responded that all were now accounted for, and
would be shipped. The NSA pledged to speak to the Chief of
Army Staff on this issue. On the question of the Forward
Operating Base (FOB) for OFR III, the USG preferred to use
Abuja, but had not seen any progress on this decision. The
NSA recommended that the Ambassador speak to Minister of
Defense Danjuma about the FOB. (Comment. We have done so,
and hope we have a decision from Danjuma before he leaves for
foreign travel later today, July 5. End comment.)

11. (C) On MPRI, the Ambassador said that the program risked
being a failure without proper counterparts for the MPRI
personnel. Mohammed said that "we are working on this,"
including the provision of retired officers as counterparts.
"We will make this work," he said. Regarding the request
from the National Assembly that MPRI open an office at the
Assembly building, the NSA requested that, although it was an
idea with merit, "this should not be done now."

12. (C) The conversation finished with several bilateral
issues, tracking the Ambassador's earlier conversation with
the President. The NSA asked for a new complete set of the
requirements for compliance with the Financial Action Task
Force (septel). He expressed surprise at the lack of proper
information, and said he would meet with Finance Minister
Ciroma and Attorney General Ige to ensure proper forwarding
of the required information. The NSA was aware that
narcotics certification was a yearly exercise, and he said
that the Obasanjo Administration was working hard to win a
sufficient budget for the NDLEA from the National Assembly
(now putting the finishing touches on a FY 2001 Supplemental
Budget). The NSA also acknowledged the rising crime problem
in Lagos, noted the recent success of checkpoints on Ikoyi
and Victoria islands, and said "we will succeed" in reducing

13. (C) When the Ambassador expressed concern on the apparent
rising tension in the Niger Delta, the NSA noted the recent
hostage taking, peacefully resolved, at Bonny Island, and
said President Obasanjo would convene a meeting of oil and
service industry executives, traditional and political
leaders in the Delta, members of the National Assembly, and
South-South State Governors to discuss the events in the
region. "We are in touch with Exxon/Mobil nearly every day,"
he said, and "we are aware of their concerns." At Ambassador
Jeter's request, the NSA said that the Embassy could send an
observer to this meeting. He also agreed with the
Ambassador's assessment that the Production Sharing Contracts
bid process was slow, but did not offer an opinion on the
matter. Digressing for a moment, on the question of
trafficking of women and children from Nigeria, the NSA noted
the close involvement of a small NGO headed by Vice President
Atiku's wife in this issue, and said he would contact the
Attorney General and the Inspector General of Police to
encourage redoubled efforts to discourage trafficking.
Finally, the Ambassador handed over a letter concerning the
National ID Card project from Chams/Polaroid Consortium,
which the NSA pledged to study and refer to the proper

14. (C) Comment. As always, the NSA proved attentive,
helpful and willing to intervene where his assistance could
be useful. There has already been significant follow-up on
the issues raised with the NSA and the President. End