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2001-08-28 09:05:00
Embassy Abuja
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ABUJA 002113 



E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/22/2011



(U) Classified by Ambassador Howard F. Jeter; Reasons 1.5 (b)
and (d).

1. (C) Ambassador Jeter, accompanied by PolMilOff, called on
NSA Aliyu Mohammed on August 22. LTC Idris, the NSA's
Military Advisor also attended. In addition to security
assistance, UNAMSIL troop rotations, the WCAR and
counter-narcotics (septels), the Ambassador and NSA discussed
Nigeria's perspectives on a number of African conflicts,
including Sudan, the DROC, Sierra Leone, and Liberia's impact
on Cote d'Ivoire, offering a virtual tour d'horizon on
conflict situations around the Continent.

2. (C) SUDAN: The NSA emphasized that President Obasanjo had
received a number of Sudanese representatives in the past
months, including al-Mahdi, Garang, General Joseph Lagu, Bona
Malwal and others. Francis Deng was expected soon from
Washington. Malwal had informed the President that the
Southern Sudanese Civic Forum had decided to organize a
conference to discuss Sudan and form a common position among
the southern groups. Nigeria had agreed to host the
conference of Southern Sudanese leaders in October (if the
various groups would agree to attend), which would ideally
lead them to unite in support of a "One Sudan" policy. The
NSA described a possible outcome of a "One Sudan" policy as
"southern autonomy in some things -- a federation -- like

3. (C) Later, Joseph Lagu had suggested that both Southern
and Northern conferences were needed, to discuss terms for
progress, and President Obasanjo had agreed to work with
Egypt and Libya to arrange a conference of Northern Sudanese
leaders. The NSA described the IGAD process as "dead," but
said Turabi had suggested a September meeting in Tripoli as
an opportunity to bring about a cease-fire and negotiations,
and build support for the Nigerian process. The meeting in
Tripoli would include Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Libya and
Egypt. Mohammed stated that President Obasanjo would go to
the meeting in Libya directly after his participation in the
WCAR in Durban. Meanwhile, Nigeria planned to send its
envoy, Dr. Usman Bugaje (Vice President Atiku Abubakar's
Special Advisor on Political Affairs) to Sudan on August 24
to begin discussions.

4. (C) DROC: The NSA stated that Nigeria had been developing
a plan for the DROC that would include a Presidential Council
with a rotating chairmanship of three to five people to rule
the country for an initial period of up to five years. In
addition, an Executive Secretary to the Council would be
appointed, ideally from an Anglophone African country.
Ultimately, within five years, democratic elections would be
held on the ward, local, regional and national levels.

5. (C) Mohammed said the current leadership in DROC had not
been informed about the plan; he dismissed Kabila as
"illegitimate" and in power without a democratic mandate.
The NSA alluded to questions about Kabila's nationality
(stories that Kabila is possibly a Tutsi from Rwanda), and
emphasized that Kabila is only in power because of support
from neighboring states, particularly Zimbabwe. Moreover,
Kabila only controlled 40 percent of the country. Ambassador
Jeter asked about the role of Botswana in the DROC. The NSA
dismissed the relevance of Botswana, saying that Masire had
not done a good job. (The NSA was aware, however, of the
gathering of Congolese parties in Botswana to begin
preparations for the National Conference.)

6. (C) Mohammed said the plan Nigeria is putting forward
would require 30,000 African peacekeeping troops, and a good
amount of money from the U.S., UN and EU. He emphasized
that, in the 1960s, there had been 24,000 troops and 2000
civilian personnel in the DROC. A similar solution was
needed now. When Ambassador Jeter noted that the cost of
such an operation would be "colossal," Mohammed agreed, but
said it was worth the cost because of the DROC's strategic
location, wealth in resources, and the impact of Congo's
instability on neighboring states. When asked if Nigeria had
discussed the plan with other African states, the NSA felt
sure that the plan had only been discussed with the U.S. so
far, but Obasanjo planned soon to raise it with the EU. If
the U.S. and EU agreed with the plan and would support it
financially, African countries would fall into line.

7. (C) SIERRA LEONE: Mohammed gave a positive read-out on
Sierra Leone. He noted that President Kabbah recently had
been to Abuja for a meeting with President Obasanjo, that
peace was returning and disarmament was progressing.
Mohammed offered the continuing RUF disarmament as an example
of a major step forward. President Obasanjo would travel to
Sierra Leone on September 3 to meet with Kabbah. He would
then travel with Kabbah to meet with RUF leader Issa Sessay
in Kono, and there call on the RUF to disarm. Ambassador
Jeter asked if the GON had contact with Omre Golley.
Mohammed said discussion with Golley may have taken place,
but "not with me."

8. (C) LIBERIA/COTE D'IVOIRE: The NSA noted that Charles
Taylor was "tired now" and seemed to want peace. The NSA
said that Nigeria's greatest present concern was Taylor's
meddling in Cote d'Ivoire. Ambassador Jeter, noting that
Taylor was a manipulator, asked Mohammed how Nigeria planned
to blunt Taylor's effort with General Guei, emphasizing that
Taylor would listen to Nigeria. Mohammed stated that the GON
had been in contact with President Gbagbo on this issue, and
had asked Gbagbo to mention these concerns to the French, who
have "sympathy" for Taylor. The NSA also expected that
Konare would "discuss it for Taylor's ears," implying an
indirect warning from the ECOWAS Chairman. He said that the
GON had not yet approached Taylor directly, but assured us
that Obasanjo would do so. He concluded, "We know Charles
Taylor well enough not to trust him."

9. (C) ZIMBABWE: Ambassador Jeter asked the NSA where Nigeria
stood on Zimbabwe, now that the Commonwealth meeting in Abuja
had been postponed. The NSA said he had assured Dr. Rice at
the NSC that Nigeria would not let Qadhafi, who had met with
Mugabe after the OAU Summit in Lusaka, damage chances for
stability in Zimbabwe. Obasanjo had promised to talk to
Qadhafi to warn him against meddling in that country.

10. (C) COMMENT: President Obasanjo continues to engage
across Africa on a number of conflicts, often at the expense
of pressing issues at home. Thus far, he appears to be
bringing his considerable weight to bear to bring parties
closer together, to negotiate their differences rather than
continue their resort to force of arms. We continue to be
impressed by Nigeria's activism on the Continent and its
attempts to try to bring closure to conflict situations in
the sub-region. However, as Nigeria's "solution" on the DROC
demonstrates, some of its plans and proposals are often
expensive propositions for non-regional players. END

11. (U) Freetown minimize considered.