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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
01ABUJA2562
2001-10-11 10:25:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Abuja
Cable title:  

NIGERIA: NSA MOHAMMED DISCUSSES SUDAN, DRC, BURUNDI

Tags:   PREL  KPKO  CG  SU  BY  NI 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 ABUJA 002562 

SIPDIS


DEPT FOR AF, AF/W, AF/RA AND AF/E
DEPT ALSO PASS TO SPECIAL ENVOY DANFORTH
LONDON, PARIS, ROME, OSLO FOR AFRICA WATCHERS
CAIRO FOR MAXSTADT
NSC FOR FRAZER AND MILLER
DIA FOR J.GERHARD


E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/10/2011
TAGS: PREL KPKO CG SU BY NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: NSA MOHAMMED DISCUSSES SUDAN, DRC, BURUNDI


REF: A. ABUJA 2113

B. ABUJA 2560


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




1. (C) SUMMARY: Ambassador Jeter, accompanied by PolCouns and
PolMilOff, called on NSA Aliyu Mohammed on October 8.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sule Lamido, the Governor of
Kaduna State, Alhaji Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi, Adobe Obe, an
advisor to President Obasanjo, and LTC Idris, the NSA's
Military Advisor also attended. This message covers their
conversation on the Sudan peace process, and Nigeria's
mediation efforts on the DROC and Burundi.




2. (C) SUMMARY CONTINUED: The NSA conveyed a message passed
to President Obasanjo from Sudanese Minister al-Din
requesting the U.S. suspend unilateral sanctions on Sudan.
Mohammed explained Nigeria's plan to host conferences of
Southern and Northern Sudanese leaders in Abuja next month.
The NSA made a strong case for U.S.-Nigeria cooperative
efforts to achieve peace in Sudan. On Congo, after an
initial attempt at a meeting with Kabila, Bemba and Onusumba
failed due to logistical snafus, Nigeria now was working on a
second meeting. Finally, the NSA briefly discussed a
possible peacekeeping mission in Burundi, and told us that an
ailing Mandela had asked Obasanjo to take over as mediator.
END SUMMARY.


=======================
SUDAN - TOO MANY COOKS?
=======================




3. (C) The NSA informed Ambassador Jeter that, during a
recent meeting, the Sudanese Minister of Peace, Dr. Ghazi
Salah al-Din, had asked President Obasanjo to appeal to
President Bush to waive U.S. unilateral sanctions against
Sudan (due for renewal on 4 November, according to the NSA).
The NSA believed that lifting the sanctions would help the
peace process. Mohammed believed Sudan was making an effort
to be on the right side of the war against terrorism and was
seeking to engage bilaterally with many countries, including
the U.S. FM Lamido agreed, noting that Sudan appeared to be
under "a new dispensation." The NSA added that al-Din had
suggested Special Envoy Senator Danforth travel to Abuja to
meet with President Obasanjo when Danforth makes his first
trip to Sudan. President Obasanjo would welcome a meeting
with Senator Danforth, either before or after he travels to
Sudan, the NSA interjected.




4. (C) The NSA outlined Nigeria's approach to facilitating
the peace process. Nigeria planned to hold two simultaneous
conferences in Abuja from 12 to 17 November: one to get the
fractious Southern leaders to a common position; the other
for the Northern leaders. Once both groups had achieved a
workable degree of internal cohesion, the two conferences
would be brought under one tent. The goal was to reach a
cessation of hostilities, and to come to agreement on a

"united Sudan" that would grant significant autonomy to the
South through a federation, "like Nigeria's." On matters of
health, education and development, the component states would
have significant decision-making powers, but in foreign
affairs and monetary policy, Khartoum would be paramount,
Lamido noted. The Carter Center, the office of the UN
Secretary General, Libya, and other interested African states

SIPDIS
would be invited to have observers at the conference,
particularly Sudan's neighbors.




5. (C) Ambassador Jeter asked if Sudan were willing to
discuss self-determination. Lamido responded that
self-determination was a "complicated phrase," and that a
more palatable term for Khartoum was "autonomy." Both Lamido
and Mohammed contended that some neighboring states had
self-interested agendas which they were pushing to the
detriment of peace in Sudan. Some states were complicating
matters by using phrases like self-determination that only
stoked the passions of hard-liners on both sides of the
North-South divide. In this regard, it was important to keep
the headstrong Garang from acting like a choleric
jack-in-the-box who could up-end the entire process.
Conversely, the NSA explained, Nigeria had no ulterior
motives but was merely seeking to provide a venue where
discussions could take place and was seeking the support of
the UN, U.S. and EU for this effort. (COMMENT: The
statement about pristine non-interest does not entirely ring
true. Nigeria is trying to cast itself as an important
catalyst in African diplomacy. Moreover, with an Islamic
North that usually wields national power and a fractious
Christian South, there is a certain impressionistic
similarity between the two states that beckons to the
Nigerians as they grapple with their own internal conflicts.
END COMMENT.)


=======================
DROC - A MISSED MEETING
=======================




6. (C) The NSA stated that "Baby Kabila" (as President
Obasanjo calls him) briefly had visited Nigeria for a meeting
with Bemba, Onusumba and President Obasanjo on October 2.
However, the other two were no shows. Recounting the events
that led to the abortive meeting, the NSA explained that
Onusumba had been unable to make an airline connection from
Brussels. Bemba had therefore decided not to come to Abuja,
fearing he would be accused of striking a secret deal if he
met Kabila alone. Kabila had a short meeting with President
Obasanjo. Meanwhile, all three agreed to try again. The GON
hoped to arrange the discussions for 12-13 October.




7. (C) Responding to Ambassador Jeter's question whether the
NSA expected any breakthrough, the NSA struck a much more
positive note about President Kabila than in the past (Ref
A). The NSA described Kabila as intelligent and as having a
vision for his country that would lead him to make
compromises. However, the NSA cautioned, the Kabila
government only controlled Kinshasa and its environs.
Additionally, Kabila was surrounded by his father's henchmen
who did not embrace all of Kabila the Younger's more
progressive ways.


==================================
BURUNDI - A NEW ROLE FOR OBASANJO?
==================================




8. (C) Ambassador Jeter asked whether President Obasanjo had
asked the National Assembly's permission to send troops to
Burundi, as reported in the Nigerian press. The NSA stated
that Burundi had sought Nigeria's assistance, and thus Army
Minister Batagarawa had visited Burundi the previous week.
As a result, Nigeria, along with two other countries (South
Africa and possibly Senegal), were considering sending
peacekeeping forces there. Obasanjo needed approval from the
Nigerian legislature. More significantly, the NSA stated
that President Mandela had asked President Obasanjo to take
over his role as mediator. (COMMENT: Obasanjo himself later
told Ambassador Jeter, however, that he would not take over
Mandela's role but would work more closely with Mandela on
the Burundi problem than he has done in the past. END
COMMENT).




9. (C) Lamido observed that President Mandela was "tiring and
not well" and wanted out of the process but did not want his
exit to create a vacuum in the peace process. Thus Mandela
had to seek a personality with high stature to fill his role.
The NSA did not indicate if President Obasanjo had agreed to
Mandela's request. (COMMENT: During a later conversation,
the SA to the Army Minister told PolMilOff that he and his
Minister had in fact met in Arusha last week. He was jetting
off with his Minister (Lawal Batagarawa) to meet again with
the same cast of characters, this time on October 11 in
Pretoria. He expected a Head of State meeting would take
place in South Africa in the near future, but was unsure who
would attend. END COMMENT.)




10. (C) COMMENT: In its quest to be a preeminent Continental
actor, Nigeria continues to play a useful role, such as the
recently negotiated Abuja agreement on Zimbabwe, and has had
some successes, such as the recently negotiated peace in
Sierra Leone.




11. (C) COMMENT CONTINUED: NSA Mohammed clearly signaled
Nigeria's willingness to work with us on Sudan. Washington
and Abuja's interests in Sudan generally coincide. In
tandem, we could do much to advance the process as well as to
demonstrate the utility of a stronger U.S.-Nigeria
partnership in Continental peacekeeping matters.


12. (C) COMMENT CONTINUED: If we do not work together, this
will complicate the Sudanese process and throw dirt on the
foreign policy aspect of our bilateral relationship. Working
with Nigeria will also lessen the perception that our latest
efforts in Sudan are faith-based and perhaps even
anti-Islamic, a perception that we must assiduously guard
against at this time. Consequently, it would be extremely
useful for Senator Danforth to meet President Obasanjo soon
in order to coordinate efforts on the Sudan, preferably
before the Senator travels to Khartoum. END COMMENT.
Jeter