Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
02ALGIERS2423
2002-09-21 09:15:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Algiers
Cable title:  

AU COUNTERTERRORISM CONFERENCE RESULTS

Tags:  PTER PREL AG 
pdf how-to read a cable
O 210915Z SEP 02
FM AMEMBASSY ALGIERS
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9601
INFO OAU COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 
WHITE HOUSE NSC WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 ALGIERS 002423 

DEPARTMENT FOR S/CT, AF, IO
NSC FOR CORVILLE
EMBASSIES PASS TO DAO

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/13/2012
TAGS: PTER PREL AG
SUBJECT: AU COUNTERTERRORISM CONFERENCE RESULTS

CLASSIFIED BY: AMBASSADOR JANET A. SANDERSON FOR REASONS 1.5 (B) AND (D)

SUMMARY
-------
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 ALGIERS 002423

DEPARTMENT FOR S/CT, AF, IO
NSC FOR CORVILLE
EMBASSIES PASS TO DAO

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/13/2012
TAGS: PTER PREL AG
SUBJECT: AU COUNTERTERRORISM CONFERENCE RESULTS

CLASSIFIED BY: AMBASSADOR JANET A. SANDERSON FOR REASONS 1.5 (B) AND (D)

SUMMARY
--------------
1.(U) THE AFRICAN UNION COUNTER-TERRORISM CONFERENCE, HELD IN
ALGIERS SEPTEMBER 11-14, RESULTED IN A NUMBER OF COUNTRIES
REPORTING THAT THEY WOULD RATIFY THE 1999 ALGIERS CONVENTION
ON THE PREVENTION AND COMBATING OF TERRORISM, A PLAN OF
ACTION TO IMPLEMENT THE 1999 CONVENTION, AND AN AGREEMENT TO
ESTABLISH AN AFRICAN COUNTER-TERRORISM CENTER. IF THE
COUNTRIES CLAIMING TO HAVE RATIFIED THE CONVENTION DEPOSIT
THEIR RESPECTIVE INSTRUMENTS WITHIN THE REQUIRED TIME, THE
CONVENTION - AND ITS EXEMPTION OF "FREEDOM FIGHTERS" FROM A
DEFINITION OF TERRORISM - WILL ENTER INTO FORCE. WHILE
VARIOUS AFRICAN DELEGATES MADE ELOQUENT AND IMPASSIONED
PRESENTATIONS, IT WAS CLEAR THAT THE ALGERIANS HAD THE
DOMINANT AGENDA AND USED THE MEETING TO SHOWCASE THEIR WON
WAR ON TERRORISM, AS WELL AS THEIR AFRICAN CREDENTIALS. IN
THAT, THEIR PURPOSES WERE LARGELY MET. END SUMMARY.

BOUTFLIKA'S MESSAGE ON TERRORISM AIMS AT HOME -- AND ABROAD
-------------- --------------

2.(U) THE CONFERENCE OPENED WITH PRESIDENT ABDELAZIZ
BOUTEFLIKA ADDRESSING THE DELEGATES AND EXPRESSING HIS
SYMPATHY FOR THE "GREAT AMERICAN PEOPLE." THE PRESIDENT SPOKE
OF AMERICANS AND ALGERIANS SHARING SADNESS AND ABOUT OUR
COMMON WORK TO ERADICATE TERRORISM. HE EXPRESSED HIS VIEW
THAT THE AU MEETING IN ALGIERS WAS "A SIGNIFICANT MARK OF
RESPECT AND SOLIDARITY WITH THE ALGERIAN PEOPLE AND A HOMAGE
TO THEIR LONG, DIFFICULT BATTLE AGAINST TERRORISM." HOEVER,
HE COMPLAINED,AS HE HAS IN THE PAST, THAT THE WORLD HAS BEEN
TOO LONG SILENT ABOUT ALGERIA'S OWN STRUGGLE WITH TERRORISM.
HE DREW A CLEAR LINK BETWEEN TERRORISM AND INTERNATIONAL
CRIME, NOTING THAT THE GREAT CHALLENGE OF THE 21ST CENTURY
WILL BE TO ERADICATE "INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM" HE CALLED FOR
INTERNATIONAL ASSISTANCE TO FACE THIS CHALLENGE, ASKING,
"WOULD YOU DEPRIVE US OF THIS ASSISTANCE WHILE WE ARE
FIGHTING TOGETHER?" HE ALSO ENCOURAGED THE CREATION OF AN
AFRICAN CENTER TO STUDY SECURITY AND TO FIGHT TERRORISM.

3.(U) TURNING HIS ATTENTION TO THE 1999 ALGIERS CONVENTION ON
COMBATING AND PREVENTION OF TERRORISM, HE CALLED FOR A
DOCUMENT THAT WOULD BAN TERRORISM IN ALL ITS FORMS AND
LAMENTED THE FACT "THAT IT HASN'T HAPPENED YET." BOUTEFLIKA

THEN SHIFTED INTO A DISCUSSION OF THE SPECIFIC TERRORIST
PROBLEMS FACING ALGERIA. HE REMINDED THE AUDIENCE THAT
ALGERIANS ARE MUSLIMS AND THAT THEY CALL FOR AN ERADICATION
OF TERRORISM. ALGERIANS, ACCORDING TO BOUTEFLIKA, HAVE NEVER
HESITATED TO DENOUNCE TERRORISM, EVEN WHEN IT HIDES BEHIND
ISLAM.

4.(U) DEPARTING FROM HIS PREPARED TEXT, BOUTEFLIKA STRONGLY
ATTACKED THOSE WHO HAD CRITIZED HIS POLICY OF RECONCILATION
AND "CONCORD CIVIL" IN THE WAKE OF ALGERIA'S OWN WAR ON
TERRORISM. HE EXPLAINED THAT DEMOCRACY MEANS YOU HAVE TO
LISTEN TO OTHER'S OPINIONS. ACCORDING TO HIS VISION, CHANGE
SHOULD COME THROUGH DIALOGUE, NOT VIOLENCE. BOUTEFLIKA URGED
THAT THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY DEAL WITH THE ROOT CAUSES OF
TERRORISM AND IN A REFERENCE TO BOTH ALGERIA'S PAST AS WELL
AS THE PALESTINIAN CAUSE, HE SAID, "INTERNATIONAL
COUNTERTERRORISM STRATEGY AND THE STRUGGLE AGAINST TERRORISM
MUST ALSO TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THE NEED TO PROVIDE JUSTICE TO
THOSE WHO HAVE NO OTHER RECOURSE BUT ARMED STRUGGLE TO
VALIDATE THEIR RIGHT TO EXIST AND TO DEMAND THEIR PLACE IN
THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY. THE LEGITIMATE RESISTANCE OF
SUCH PEOPLE, OFTEN SUPPORTED BY MODEST EFFORTS AND A LIMITED
WILL, SHOULD NOT BE ANY WAY ASSOCIATED WITH TERRORISM. THE
INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY...MUST MEET ITS REPSONSIBLITIES TO
PROVIDE LAW AND JUSTICE, MOST NOTABLY FOR THE WEAKEST AND THE
MOST DOWNTRODDEN. THAT IS THE BEST GUARANTEE OF LONGLASTING
PEACE AND STABILITY."

YOU WIN SOME...
--------------

6.(U) DURING THE OPENING SESSION OF THE CONFERENCE, DELEGATES
FROM SUDAN, SOUTH AFRICA AND GHANA REPORTED THAT THEIR
COUNTRIES HAD RATIFIED THE 1999 ALGIERS CONVENTION AND THAT
THE INSTRUMENTS WOULD BE DEPOSITED WITH THE AU SHORTLY. WHEN
THE LAST OF THESE INSTRUMENTS HAVE BEEN DEPOSITED, THE
CONVENTION WILL ENTER INTO FORCE AND THE AU WILL OFFICIALLY
EXEMPT THOSE INVOLVED IN A "STRUGGLE WAGED BY PEOPLES IN
ACCORDANCE WITH THE PRINCIPLES OF INTERNATIONAL LAW FOR THEIR
LIBERATION OR SELF-DETERMINATION, INCLUDING THE ARMED
STRUGGLE AGAINST COLONIALISM, OCCUPATION, AGGRESSION AND
DOMINATION BY FOREIGN FORCES" FROM ITS DEFINITION OF
TERRORISM. THERE WAS NO DEBATE, OR EVEN A SPECIFIC MENTION
ABOUT THIS EXEMPTION. MANY OF THE DELEGATIONS INVITED AS
OBSERVERS SEEMED NONCHALANT ABOUT THE CLAUSE, INCLUDING THE
REPRESENTATIVES FROM MALAYSIA, SPAIN, FRANCE AND ENGLAND.
SEVERAL DELEGATIONS PRAISED THE REPORTS OF RATIFICATION,
NOTING THAT IT HAS TAKEN THREE YEARS TO GET RATIFICATION FROM
THE REQUISITE 15 COUNTRIES.

7.(U) A LARGE PART OF THE CONFERENCE WAS SPENT ON A PROPOSED
PLAN OF ACTION TO IMPLEMENT THE 1999 CONVENTION. ALTHOUGH
MUCH DEBATE WAS HAD ON "THE USE OF COMMAS AND FULL STOPS,"
THERE WAS LITTLE SUBSTANTIVE DISCUSSION ON THE PLAN'S SCOPE,
LIMITATIONS OR FUNDING. A COPY OF THE FINAL PLAN OF ACTION
WILL BE DELIVERED TO DEPARTMENT SEPARATELY.

...AND YOU LOSE SOME
--------------

8.(U) BY THE TIME AN AGREEMENT WAS REACHED ON THE PLAN OF
ACTION, MOST DELEGATES WERE IN NO MOOD TO CONTINUE INTO THE
NIGHT TO DISCUSS A PROPOSED PROTOCOL TO THE 1999 CONVENTION.
THE PROTOCOL WAS MOSTLY AUTHORED BY THE SENEGALESE, AS A
CAPSTONE TO THEIR DAKAR DECLARATION OF OCTOBER 1998. AFTER
MAKING A STRONG ARGUMENT FOR THE NEED FOR SUCH A PROTOCOL,
THE SENEGALESE DELEGATION GLUMLY SAT THROUGH A NUMBER OF
ARGUMENTS AGAINST IT. THE SENEGALESE DEFENDED THE PROTOCOL,
CLAIMING THE 1999 CONVENTION NEEDED ENHANCEMENT IN ORDER TO
ADDRESS ISSUES THAT WERE UNFORESEEN THREE YEARS AGO,
INCLUDING THE NEED TO CRIMINALIZE MONEY LAUNDERING AND OTHER
SIMILAR TOPICS.

9.(C) REALIZING THAT A CONSENSUS TO KILL THE PROTOCOL WAS
BUILDING (AND THAT IT WAS NEARLY 11 P.M.),THE ALGERIAN
CHAIRMAN PUT AN END TO THE DEBATE AND DECREED THAT THE
DELEGATES SHOULD COLLECT FURTHER OPINIONS ON THE PROPOSED
PROTOCOL AND THAT IT WOULD BE DEBATED AT THE NEXT AU SUMMIT.
(COMMENT. THE PROPOSED TERRORISM PROTOCOL COULD BE
PROBLEMATIC: IT INCLUDES AN ARTICLE -- DEALING WITH THE PEACE
AND SECURITY COUNCIL -- WHICH GIVES AUTHORITY TO THE COUNCIL
TO "MAKE APPROPRIATE CONTACTS WITH MEMBER STATES AS WELL AS
NON-MEMBER STATES ON ALL MATTERS RELATING TO TERRORISM AND
THE ACTIVITIES OF TERRORIST GROUPS." DEPENDING UPON THE
INTERPRETATION AND EXECUTION OF THIS ARTICLE, IT MAY AFFECT
USG CT EFFORTS ON A BILATERAL BASIS. END COMMENT.)

NOT JUST ANOTHER PIECE OF PAPER
--------------

10.(U) MUCH OF THE DEBATE, ON BOTH THE PLAN OF ACTION AND THE
PROTOCOL, CENTERED ON A DIFFERENT PROTOCOL WHICH HAS NOT YET
ENTERED INTO FORCE. THIS PROTOCOL, RELATING TO THE
ESTABLISHMENT OF THE PEACE AND SECURITY COUNCIL (PSC WAS
ISSUED AND SIGNED BY HEADS OF STATE AT THE DURBAN AU SUMMIT
IN JULY 2002. (NOTE: THIS PROTOCOL ALSO CALLS FOR "PANEL OF
THE WISE," A CONTINENTAL EARLY WARNING SYSTEM, AN AFRICAN
STANDBY FORCE, AND A "PEACE-BUILDING CAPACITY." END NOTE)
AU OFFICIALS TOLD USDEL THAT A SIMPLE MAJORITY OF AU MEMBERS
ARE EXPECTED TO RATIFY THE PROTOCOL IN TIME TO BE EFFECTIVE
BY THE NEXT AU SUMMIT, IN MAPUTO IN 2003.

11.(C) ACCORDING TO AN OFFICIAL VERSION OF THE PROPOSED
PROTOCOL, THE PSC WILL CONSIST OF 15 COUNTRIES, THREE EACH
FROM FIVE AFRICAN REGIONS. ALTHOUGH THERE ARE CRITERIA
LISTED FOR MEMBERSHIP TO THE PSC, AU OFFICIALS CLAIM THAT
COUNTRIES LIKE SUDAN, LIBERIA, ZIMBABWE COULD NEVER SERVE ON
THE PSC - OR MORE IMPORTANTLY, SERVE AS THE CHAIR - BECAUSE
OF THESE CRITERIA. WHEN PRESSED FOR DETAILS OF THE VETTING
PROCESS, AN AU OFFICIAL CONCEDED THAT IT WOULD BE THROUGH
"PEER PRESSURE." ACCORDING TO THE PROTOCOL, THE PSC WILL BE
RESPONSIBLE FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE 1999 CONVENTION ON
TERRORISM.

WE SAID IT FIRST
--------------

12.(U) AFTER A SPIRITED DEBATE OVER THE FUNDING AND SCOPE OF
THE PROPOSAL FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A TERRORISM STUDY AND
RESEARCH CENTER, THE ALGERIAN DELEGATION STRONG-ARMED THE
DELEGATES INTO ACCEPTING ALGERIA AS THE CENTER'S SITE. THE
SOUTH AFRICAN DELEGATION ARGUED THAT REGIONAL CAPACITY SHOULD
BE DEVELOPED BEFORE ATTEMPTING TO HAVE A CONTINENTAL PROGRAM.
THEY CLAIMED THAT THE IMMEDIATE ESTABLISHMENT OF SUCH A
CENTER WOULD WEAKEN MANY BILATERAL RELATIONSHIPS IN THE AREAS
OF TRAINING, COOPERATION, AND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE. THE
TANZANIAN DELEGATION AGREED THAT A NEED FOR THE CENTER
EXISTS, BUT INSISTED THAT THE DEVIL WAS IN THE DETAILS.
ADDITIONALLY, THE DELEGATIONS FROM BURKINA FASO, KENYA AND
SUDAN ASKED FOR MORE TIME TO STUDY THE PROPOSAL. THE
CHAIRMAN WENT ON TO MAKE THE ARGUMENT THAT TERRORISM DOESN'T
WAIT, IT STRIKES QUICKLY. HE CLAIMED THAT THE TERRORISM
CENTER WOULD ANSWER THE CONCERNS EXPRESSED BY ALL AU MEMBERS.

13.(U) BOTH THE ALGERIAN DELEGATION AND THE INTERIM
COMMISSIONER FOR THE PSC, ALGERIAN SAID DJINNIT, ARGUED THAT
THE DECISION FOR AN AFRICAN CT CENTER WAS MADE AT THE AU
SUMMIT IN DURBAN. CITING AN AU TRADITION THAT ONCE A
DECISION IS MADE AT THE SUMMIT LEVEL, MEMBER COUNTRIES HAVE
ALWAYS ACCEPTED IT, THE ALGERIAN CHAIRMAN OF THE CONFERENCE
DECLARED THAT ALGERIA WOULD BE THE LOCATION FOR THE CT
CENTER. BESIDES, HE ADDED, ALGERIA HAD BEEN THE ONLY COUNTRY
TO MAKE AN OFFER TO HOST THE CENTER. HE CONTINUED THAT
ALTHOUGH THE CT CENTER WOULD FOLLOW THE AU'S TRADITION OF
FUNDING FROM THE ORDINARY BUDGET, THE ALGERIANS WOULD BE
LOOKING FOR BUDGET CONTRIBUTIONS, EVEN SYMBOLIC ONES.

COMMENT
--------------

14.(C) WHILE THE MEETING MAY NOT HAVE ENDED EXACTLY AS THE
ALGERIANS WOULD HAVE WANTED, THEY WERE SUCCESSFUL ON SEVERAL
COUNTS. BOUTEFLIKA, THROUGH HIS HOSTING OF THE CONFERENCE ON
THE FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF THE SEPTEMBER 11 ATTACKS, ARTFULLY
DEMONSTRATED HIS SOLIDARITY WITH THE US AND THE GLOBAL
COALITION IN THE CAMPAIGN AGAINST TERRORISM. A TERRORISM
CENTER WILL BE ESTABLISHED IN (AND BENEFIT) ALGERIA WITH THE
AU'S IMPRIMATUR. IT WAS CLEAR THROUGHOUT THE MEETING THAT
THE EGYPTIANS AND THE ALGERIANS PLAN TO CONTROL THE AFRICAN
CT CAMPAIGN, EITHER BY FORCE OF THEIR EFFORTS OR THROUGH THE
LACK OF CAPACITY OF OTHER AU MEMBERS.

15.(C) THE BEST SUMMARY OF THIS CONFERENCE MAY BE IN AN
ANECDOTE PROVIDED BY A YOUNG AU STAFFER FROM ADDIS ABABA.
ACCORDING TO THE STAFFER, THE PLAN WAS TO ONLY DISTRIBUTE THE
DELEGATES' PER DIEM ON THE VERY LAST DAY OF THE MEETING, THUS
ENSURING THE MAXIMUM PARTICIPATION OF EACH OF THE DELEGATIONS.


SANDERSON