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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
01DAKAR2990 2001-09-07 16:28:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Dakar
Cable title:  

PRESIDENT WADE SEIZES OPPORTUNITY TO

Tags:   PREL PHUM SG 
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P 071628Z SEP 01
FM AMEMBASSY DAKAR
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6214
INFO ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 DAKAR 002990 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/06/11
TAGS: PREL PHUM SG
SUBJECT: PRESIDENT WADE SEIZES OPPORTUNITY TO
DISTANCE HIMSELF FROM LIBYA

REF: DAKAR 2916

CLASSIFIED BY POLITICAL OFFICER CHRIS ROCHESTER.
REASONS 1.5 (B)(D)



1. (U) ON AUGUST 28, SENEGALESE AUTHORITIES REFUSED
PERMISSION TO APPROXIMATELY 100 YOUNG WOMEN TO BOARD
A LIBYAN CHARTERED AIRCRAFT, WHICH APPARENTLY LANDED
WITHOUT PROPER AUTHORIZATION, AND WHICH WAS ALLEGEDLY
TAKING THE WOMEN TO LIBYA TO PARTICIPATE IN A
CULTURAL EVENT CELEBRATING THE THIRTY-SECOND
ANNIVERSARY OF THE LIBYAN REVOLUTION. WHAT BEGAN AS
A SUSPECTED TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS MATTER QUICKLY
INTENSIFIED TO A SIGNIFICANT DIPLOMATIC INCIDENT
BETWEEN LIBYA AND SENEGAL.



2. (U) SENEGALESE AUTHORITIES STRONGLY SUSPECTED THAT
THE CULTURAL PRETEXT WAS IN FACT A BLATANT OPERATION
IN HUMAN TRAFFICKING. ON AUGUST 31, THE DAKAR
PROSECUTOR FORMALLY CHARGED AND DETAINED THREE WOMEN,
WHO WERE SUSPECTED OF COORDINATING THE SCHEME. THE
LIBYAN GOVERNMENT DENIED ANY INVOLVMENT IN
TRAFFICKING AND CLAIMED THAT IT HAD SENT THE AIRCRAFT
TO DAKAR SOLELY TO BRING A SENEGALESE DANCE TROUPE
(NUMBERING APPROXIMATELY THIRTY-FIVE MEMBERS) TO
LIBYA. THE TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS ALLEGATIONS ARE
SERIOUS, BUT THE MORE INTERESTING ASPECT OF THE
MATTER HAS BEEN THE RESPONSE BY THE GOVERNMENT OF
SENEGAL.



3. (C) THE GOS REACTED PUBLICLY AND VIGOROUSLY. FOREIGN
MINISTER GADIO DEPLORED THE INCIDENT IN A ROUND OF
MEDIA APPEARANCES AS "AN UNFRIENDLY ACT." THE
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESMAN ANNOUNCED THAT THE GOS WAS
TAKING A NUMBER OF STEPS IN RESPONSE TO THE INCIDENT:
THE GOS WAS RECALLING AMBASSADOR MAMADOU DIOUF FROM
TRIPOLI FOR CONSULTATIONS; A DIPLOMATIC NOTE HAD BEEN
CONVEYED TO LIBYAN AUTHORITIES; LIBYA WAS REQUIRED TO
REDUCE ITS DIPLOMATIC PRESENCE IN SENEGAL; THE NUMBER
OF TRANSIT VISAS FOR LIBYAN NATIONALS WOULD BE
RESTRICTED. FINALLY, PRESIDENT WADE SPOKE OUT ABOUT
THE MATTER PUBLICLY, SAYING THAT THE INCIDENT WAS "AN
UNFRIENDLY GESTURE TOWARD SENEGAL." HE ADDED THAT HE
WAS HURT ("BLESSE") THAT THIS HAD HAPPENED AND THAT
HIS FIRST DUTY WAS "TO PROTECT THE SENEGALESE
PEOPLE." HE NOTED, WITHOUT ELABORATION, THAT THE
INCIDENT "WAS NOT AN ACCIDENT" AND THAT THERE HAD
BEEN "PRECEDENTS" FOR THIS KIND OF THING WITH LIBYA.
ASKED IF HE WERE CONSIDERING FURTHER DIPLOMATIC
SANCTIONS, PRESIDENT WADE REPLIED THAT HE WOULD MAKE
FURTHER DECISIONS AFTER CONSULTING WITH HIS RECALLED
AMBASSADOR.



4. (C) THE DETAILS OF THE ALLEGED HUMAN TRAFFICKING
INCIDENT AND THE EVENTUAL JOURNEY - LONG OR
ABBREVIATED - OF THE CASE THROUGH THE COURTS ARE OF
INTEREST, BUT MORE SIGNIFICANT IS THE PROBABILITY
THAT PRESIDENT WADE TOOK ADVANTAGE OF THE INCIDENT TO
SEND A VIGOROUS PUBLIC MESSAGE TO THE SENEGALESE
PEOPLE, THE REGION AND THE WEST THAT HE INTENDED TO
KEEP HIS DISTANCE FROM LIBYA. WHEN ADDED TO OTHER
RECENT, LESS PUBLIC, REMARKS TO US BY PRESIDENT WADE
(REFTEL), THE IMPRESSION IS THAT THE PRESIDENT HAS
DECIDED TO ABRUPTLY DECELERATE WHAT HAD BEEN AN
ACTIVE POLICY OF HIGH-LEVEL CONTACTS WITH LIBYA.



5. (C) PRESIDENT WADE VISITED TRIPOLI SEVERAL TIMES SOON
AFTER HIS ELECTION (NOT TO MENTION CONTACTS WHILE HE
WAS IN THE OPPOSITION). KHADAFI MADE A NUMBER OF
PROMISES TO WADE, BOTH FINANCIAL AND PAN-AFRICAN
(PARTICULARLY CONCERNING THE AFRICAN UNION), THAT
CONFORMED TO HIS USUAL PATTERN OF INGRATIATION.
PRESIDENT WADE APPEARED TO BE PERSUADED AT THE TIME
THAT THE LIBYAN PROMISES (INCLUDING TO SUPPLY OIL AT
DISCOUNT PRICES, TO PROVIDE ASSISTANCE IN THE
CONSTRUCTION OF AN OIL REFINERY, TO MAKE OTHER LARGE
BUT UNSPECIFIED INVESTMENTS IN SENEGAL AND WEST
AFRICA AND TO SUPPORT REGIONAL AND PAN-AFRICAN
POLITICAL PROJECTS), WERE SERIOUS. THERE IS NOW A
REAL DEGREE OF TENSION, EVEN BITTERNESS, BETWEEN
SENEGAL AND LIBYA, GENERATED BY AN APPARENTLY SHARP
REVERSAL OF SENEGALESE CONFIDENCE IN TRIPOLI.



6. (C) FORMER FOREIGN MINISTER DJIBO KA MAY HAVE BEEN ON
TARGET WHEN HE SAID IN A RECENT INTERVIEW THAT THIS
CHILL IN BILATERAL RELATIONS WAS INEVITABLE, GIVEN
THE EXCESSIVE ENTHUSIASM, EVEN "AMATEURISM," OF
SENEGALESE RELATIONS WITH LIBYA SINCE THE
PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION. KA ARGUED THAT IF SENEGAL
WISHED TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY BY "THE COUNTRIES AND
INSTITUTIONS THAT COUNT IN THE WORLD," IT HAD TO STAY
THE COURSE DIPLOMATICALLY AS A DEMOCRATIC COUNTRY
GIVING PRIORITY TO OTHER DEMOCRATIC NATIONS.


ELAM-THOMAS