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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
02ABUJA1169
2002-04-15 11:38:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Abuja
Cable title:  

NIGERIA: NSA GENERAL MOHAMMED ON ANGOLA, CONGO AND

Tags:  PREL PGOV AO ZI CF 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 02 ABUJA 001169 

SIPDIS


E.O. 12958: 18/03/02
TAGS: PREL PGOV AO ZI CF NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: NSA GENERAL MOHAMMED ON ANGOLA, CONGO AND
ZIMBABWE


CLASSIFIED BY AMBASSADOR HOWARD F. JETER; REASONS 1.5(B)
AND (D).




1. (C) SUMMARY: During an April 3 meeting with National
Security Advisor, General (Rtd.) Aliyu Mohammed, to discuss
security assistance programs (SEPTEL), Ambassador Jeter
used the opportunity to engage the NSA on Angola, Congo and
Zimbabwe. END SUMMARY




--------------------------


ANGOLA


--------------------------






2. (C) The Ambassador initiated the discussion by asking
the NSA whether the GON was involved behind the scenes in
the Angolan cease-fire agreement. Mohammed replied that the
GON was not involved; in fact explained that he was in
Saudi Arabia for the Hajj when Savimbi was killed. None the
less, said that President Obasanjo had spoken with Dos
Santos and told him that Savimbi's death was a great
opportunity to rebuild the country. Mohammed noted that
UNITA would always be symbolic of Savimbi's resistance to
Dos Santos and the rebels needed a face saving way out so
that they could appear to remain true to Savimbi's legacy
while also ending the war.




3. (C) The NSA also revealed that President Obasanjo had
sent Special Representative on Conflict Resolution,
Ambassador Raph Uwechue, to Angola. Mohammed said he was
pleased with the cease-fire and that amnesty had been given
to the rebels. He concluded, the situation looked hopeful.




--------------------------


Congo:


--------------------------




4. (C) The NSA was not optimistic about the Inter-Congolese
Dialogue (ICD), contending that nothing good would come of
it. He explained, there are too many players involved in
the ICD and it is impossible to get everyone to put their
selfish interests aside and work for peace. Mohammed
suggested that the solution requires key players to sit
down and hammer out a solution and that has not happened
yet. Until Museveni, Kabila, Mbeki and Mugabe reach a
consensus on peace, there will continue to be chaos in the
Congo.




--------------------------


Zimbabwe:


--------------------------




5. (C) Mohammed summarized his thoughts on Zimbabwe by
saying that unlike the U.S. and Britain points of view,
Nigeria saw the Zimbabwe crisis as one over land ownership
and not politics. He insisted the Britain was biased which
opened their version of events to question. The NSA said
that the real problem was not Mugabe but lack of land
ownership by the Zimbabwean majority. Meanwhile, Britain
was protecting the interests of the elite like the
publisher of the Financial Times and a former British
Foreign Minister Rifkind, both of whom had massive land
holdings in Zimbabwe.




6. (C) Everyone agrees that greater land equity was
fundamental, the Ambassador replied, but the contest for
land did not legitimize election fraud and intimidation.
The NSA disagreed, asserting that the elections were
credible. Ambassador Jeter offered to provide reports to
substantiate his statement; the NSA rebutted by saying that
credibility depends on whose reports you read.




7. (C) The Ambassador told Mohammed that the US appreciated
what Nigeria was doing in Zimbabwe but did not recognize
the legitimacy of the elections. Moreover, given what had
happened during the recent poll it would be difficult to
have normal relations with the Mugabe government.




8. (C) The Ambassador suggested that Mugabe gracefully step
aside for a transitional government since he had proven
that he can win an election by capitalizing on the land
issue. The NSA agreed that Mugabe should step down but
argued, if you pushed him too hard he would only enlarge
his following. Sanctions will not punish Mugabe only the
people of Zimbabwe.




9. (C) The NSA argued that Tsvangirai was not a viable
successor to Mugabe. Tsvangirai could not replace Mugabe
because he did not have the support of the National
institutions, including the civil service and the army.
Asked if he believed the charges of treason against
Tsvangirai, Mohammed said that he was uncertain but had

SIPDIS
requested a copy of the alleged tape implicating the MDC
leader to see if it was authentic. Ambassador said that
from our perspective the charges against Tsvangirai are not
credible.




10. (C) The Ambassador pointed out that the land issue was
bigger than Zimbabwe; there was a real fear that violence
over land redistribution could spread to South Africa and
Namibia and influence racial tensions throughout the
region. He said killings and seizures were not the answer,
citing Namibia's calling of a National conference on the
land problem as an example of addressing the issue
responsibly.




11. (C) Ambassador said that Nigeria's position on Zimbabwe
could have influence much beyond its borders, including
questions of Africa's commitment to the goals of NEPAD.
Mohammed exclaimed that these statements made African
countries feel they were being blackmailed.




12. (C) The NSA said it seemed unfair for the U.S. to
criticize Zimbabwe's election when its own National
election had been irregular. In defense of the legitimacy
of the elections, the NSA said that Mugabe promised to have
more polling stations and he did. The Ambassador countered
that although there were more polling stations, they were
strategically placed in Mugabe rural strongholds.




13. (C) The NSA digressed by reinforcing Nigeria's concern
about Zimbabwe. He said that President Obasanjo had
dedicated a tremendous amount of time and energy to the
issue, traveling to Zimbabwe six times and twice to London
before and after the elections.




14. (C) The NSA concluded by conditioning his remarks
saying that they were his personal view, and not those of
GON.
ANDREWS