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2001-09-07 20:06:00
Embassy Abuja
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Tags:   PREL  SU  SL  ZI  PINR  NI 
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ABUJA 002256 


E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/07/2011

REF: A. STATE 153144

B. STATE 153894

C. ABUJA 2253

(U) Classified by CDA Andrews; Reasons 1.5 (b) and (d).

1. (C) SUMMARY: CDA, accompanied by PolMilOff, called on the
Special Presidential Envoy for Conflict Resolution,
Ambassador Raph Uwechue, to discuss Sudan developments (Refs
A and B). Uwechue welcomed the appointment of Senator
Danforth as a signal of U.S. interest in Sudan and Africa.
He described African conflict resolution as based on emotion
rather than calculation, and described President Obasanjo's
most recent efforts in Sierra Leone as an example. Finally,
he gave his insights into Zimbabwe, arguing for the need to
strike a balance between competing interests. Bio
information in paras 5-8. END SUMMARY.

2. (U) SPECIAL ENVOY APPOINTMENT: Uwechue stated that the
appointment of Senator Danforth was welcome and an indication
of "how seriously the Administration takes Sudan." He also
noted that Nigeria was interested to work with the U.S. to
resolve conflicts generally, and that with so much in common,
the two countries could build greater understanding.
Moreover, in describing countries as mammals, "the U.S. is
like an elephant," Uwechue said, "it carries a lot of weight
and leaves a big footprint." The U.S. could make a dent,
Uwechue opined, when others could not do so. However, such
weight imposed the responsibility to step carefully.

African conflict resolution as based on emotion, rather than,
pointing to his head and smiling, "your computers." He
elaborated that with Africans, once you make a personal
connection, you can ask of them almost anything, and "sort
out the details later." Turning to Sierra Leone, Uwechue
briefly discussed his trip with President Obasanjo on
September 3, which he described as historic, particularly
noting the meeting of Presidents Kabbah (with his FM),
Obasanjo (with Uwechue) and Konare (with his MOJ) with four
RUF leaders (he named Sessay and Massoquoi) in Kono. He said
the GOSL had agreed to open a RUF liaison office in Freetown
to "keep the communication lines open."

4. (C) ZIMBABWE: Uwechue opined that any solution on Zimbabwe
would have to strike a balance between the claims of both
sides. He noted that the "settlers" were not colonialists
but Zimbabweans, and that they were critical to the
Zimbabwean economy. However, black Zimbabwean farmers wanted
access to lands once held by their ancestors. Uwechue
pointed to his arm and noted that Americans, whether of
African descent and with dark skin or of Scandinavian descent
and with white skin, were all Americans. Likewise, he
stated, Africans, whether the Arabs living in North Africa,
whites in southern Africa, or black Africans, were all
Africans. for reporting on the Abuja Commonwealth
Ministerial, see Ref C (notal).

5. (C) BIOGRAPHICAL INFO: Ambassador Raphael Uwechue was
born in 1935 at Ogwashi-Uku, Delta State. He attended
primary school at Holy Family School in Sokoto and St.
Peter's Primary School, Ogwashi-Uku, Delta State. He
receieved secondary education at St. John's (Rimi) College in
Kaduna, where he became fluent in Hausa. He attended
University College, Ibadan from 1956-60, and graduated with
honors in history. He later pursued post-graduate studies in
International Law and French at the Institute of Higher
International Studies in Geneva, Switzerland.

6. (C) Uwechue joined the Nigerian Foreign Service at
independence in 1960, and served in Cameroon, Pakistan and
Mali. He was Nigeria's first diplomatic envoy to France,
where he opened the Nigerian Embassy in Paris as Charge in

1966. He left the Service at the start of the Nigerian Civil
War in 1967, when he became the Biafran representative to
France, but resigned this post in 1968 in protest against
what he described as "Biafran inflexibility." He did not
return to Nigeria for over 10 years. Uwechue was Minister of
Health from October to December of 1983 during Shagari's
second administration. In 1993, he was active in the Delta
State SDP (his bio describes him as a close confidant of
Chief M.K.O. Abiola). He was the Vice-Chairman of NADECO
Abroad from 1994-1998. Uwechue was appointed into his
present position as Ambassador Extraordinary and
Plenipotentiary in 1999, with the title of Special
Presidential Envoy on Conflict Resolution in Africa. He said
he was comfortable in London but returned to Nigeria because
he believed in President Obasanjo's program for reform and
the elimination of corruption.

7. (C) Uwechue has been publisher and Editor-in-Chief of such
publications as "Africa Magazine," "Afrique Magazine," Africa
Woman Magazine," and the "Know Africa" series of books. He
has authored several books, including, "Reflection on the
Nigeria Civil War," Africa Ohne Burgerkrieg," "'L'Avenir du
Biafra," and "The Awareness of History among Indigenous
African Communities."

8. (C) Ambassador Uwechue speaks English, Hausa and French.
He lived for 25 years in London. He is easy-going, warm and

9. (U) Freetown minimize considered.