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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
03ABUJA1649 2003-09-23 16:22:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Abuja
Cable title:  

CHAMBAS: BLUE HAT ECOMIL; MODEL COOPERATING;

Tags:   PGOV PREL LI NI 
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1. (C) SUMMARY: ECOWAS ExecSec Chambas advocated to the
Charge September 19 and in a meeting of COMs September 22
that ECOMIL should become part of the UN's peacekeeping force
after the October 1 handover. Chambas also commented that
recent conversations with MODEL leaders led him to believe
they were trying to adhere to the ceasefire, but
communications problems have hampered their command and
control. He said incoming National Transition Government for
Liberia (NTGL) Chairman Gyude Bryant is becoming comfortable
with his role as "umpire and ombudsman," while Charles Taylor
is less and less able to influence events from his Nigerian
exile. END SUMMARY.




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LIBERIA PEACEKEEPING


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2. (C) In his conversation with the CDA on September 19,
Chambas said ECOWAS anticipated that the U.N. would not be
prepared to take over the PKO by October 1, and advocated
that the ECOMIL force in Liberia be "blue helmetted" on
October 1. He said this would be a topic of discussion at
the September 24 Liberia Contact Group meeting in New York.




3. (C) Noting that he planned to meet with a delegation from
MODEL later that afternoon, Chambas said his recent
conversations with MODEL leaders lead him to believe it is
making an honest effort to abide by the cease-fire agreement,
but that communications problems prevented the MODEL
leadership from exercising firm command and control. Indeed,
Chambas maintained the lack of adequate communications still
presented an obstacle to uniform observance of the cease-fire
by all parties, commenting that even some fighters loyal to
former President Taylor were unaware he had left Liberia.




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BRYANT IS COMFORTABLE WITH HIS ROLE


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4. (C) Citing initial confusion over the extent of incoming
NTGL Chairman Gyude Bryant's powers, Chambas said he and
Bryant had since discussed the transition in detail and
Bryant was now comfortable with his role an "umpire and
ombudsman." Apparently, some of Bryant's advisors had
advocated a more robust role for the NTGL Chairman, but
Chambas said everyone now understood that Bryant's place was
to be more of a mediator between the factions represented in
the NTGL than a chief executive.




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WHILE CHARLES TAYLOR'S IS WANING


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5. (C) Chambas commented that while former Liberian President
Charles Taylor still had close ties with supporters in
Liberia, he was less and less able to influence events there.
Citing the intention of Taylor's former Vice President,
Moses Blah, to hand over power to the NTGL on October 14,
Chambas said there was little Taylor could do from his
Nigerian exile to prevent the NTGL from taking power or to
disrupt the eventual transition to democracy in Liberia.
Nevertheless, Chambas thought Taylor would continue to try to
influence Liberian politics and that his activities should be
closely monitored.
MEECE