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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
02ABUJA788
2002-03-12 17:28:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Abuja
Cable title:  

ECOWAS: LEGAL DIRECTOR LALOUPO GIVES A LIBERIA

Tags:   PREL  LI  NI  ECOWAS 
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L ABUJA 000788 

SIPDIS


E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/07/2012
TAGS: PREL LI NI ECOWAS
SUBJECT: ECOWAS: LEGAL DIRECTOR LALOUPO GIVES A LIBERIA
UPDATE


REF: A. ABUJA 622

B. MONROVIA 396 AND PREVIOUS


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


C O N F I D E N T I A L ABUJA 000788

SIPDIS


E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/07/2012
TAGS: PREL LI NI ECOWAS
SUBJECT: ECOWAS: LEGAL DIRECTOR LALOUPO GIVES A LIBERIA
UPDATE


REF: A. ABUJA 622

B. MONROVIA 396 AND PREVIOUS


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



1. (U) PolMilOff and OIG Inspector Paul Tyson March 6 met
ECOWAS Director of Legal Affairs Roger Laloupo. DAS Perry,
accompanied by PolMilOff, also met Laloupo and his Deputy,
Halima Ahmed, on March 7.



2. (C) Laloupo said the ECOWAS-sponsored Liberia meeting was
still set for March 14-16, but was not confirmed due to
difficulty in contacting the various parties. Contrary to
what Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf told us (Ref a), Laloupo remarked
that the March meeting would be a preparatory session to
allow the stakeholders to set a venue, date and agenda for
the actual reconciliation meeting.



3. (C) Laloupo confirmed ECOWAS Executive Secretary Chambas
and Nigerian Minister of Integration and Cooperation in
Africa Bimbola Ogunkelu had traveled to Monrovia to garner
President Taylor's assent to the meeting. They later went to
Dakar to elicit President Wade's approval. After a stop-over
in Libya, the two traveled on to Addis Ababa for a meeting on
NEPAD. (Laloupo added that the Secretariat had just faxed a
list of possible meeting participants to Chambas in Addis for
vetting.)



4. (C) Laloupo lamented ECOWAS' inability to convince Liberia
to accept its help in working towards national reconciliation
and the restructuring of the Liberian armed forces after the
end of the Liberian civil war. Since that effort had been
unsuccessful, he sighed, problems that contributed to the war
remained largely unresolved would have to be faced now,
particularly with elections approaching.



5. (C) Ahmed, who had visited Monrovia during the war and
then again recently, opined that the country looked worse
now. Unfortunately, she remarked, President Taylor could
point to sanctions and the rebels and likely avoid
culpability when election season rolled around. The only
hope of a real election challenge to Taylor was if the
opposition parties coalesced, though that seemed unlikely.
When Ambassador Perry emphasized concern that many opposition
figures feared returning to Liberia without security
guarantees, Ahmed agreed, suggesting that ECOWAS might have
to consider providing security to opposition politicians
similar to that provided Hutu moderates in Burundi by the
South African military.



6. (C) DAS Perry joined Ambassador Jeter for a March 7 lunch
with Alhaji Kromah, former leader of ULIMO-K, who also claims
to have the loyalty of LURD fighters. On the issue of a fair
electoral process, Kromah thought it possible only if Charles
Taylor were not around. Kromah planned to attend the March
14-16 conference but expected nothing material to be
achieved. He felt that the only solution was to continue to
apply pressure on Taylor to leave office and the country.
Kromah suggested that the way to get Taylor's attention and
inspire greater political flexibility was to publicly make
known the possibility that consideration might be given to
bringing Taylor before the Sierra Leone Special Court for his
role in the RUF-driven civil war.



7. (C) COMMENT: Laloupo's characterization is the first we
have heard that the meeting might be preparatory and not
substantive. Laloupo admitted not having the latest details
from Chambas, but is usually in the loop. It is possible
that concerns raised by President Taylor and perhaps
President Wade made ECOWAS to lower the bar for the Abuja
meeting. Whether the meeting is preparatory or substantive,
time is running out to prepare for the session and to invite
the necessary participants. Many know of the session because
of the hyperactive Liberian grapevine and will attend without
a formal invitation. However, if this meeting is a bust it
may sap the momentum for a regionally inspired reconciliation
process.



8. (U) DAS Perry cleared this message.
Jeter