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2004-09-20 09:38:00
Embassy Brussels
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 07 BRUSSELS 003989 



E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/20/2014



1. (U) Summary. The September 8 transatlantic consultations
on Africa (COAFR) addressed priorities in the Great Lakes
(strengthening MONUC, protecting refugees, supporting
internal and regional dialogues), Sudan (calibrating pressure
on the government, strengthening the AU role, meeting
humanitarian and security needs and responding to the Pronk
Plan); Zimbabwe (preparing for elections); and other issues
in the Horn and West Africa. In opening the discussions Van
de Geer noted that "Africa has boomed on the European/EU
agenda." He emphasized EU interest in intensifying already
good cooperation with the U.S. and said that the EU wants to
be able to present a positive agenda on Africa to the
European public. The EU, he stated, has a positive view of
U.S. policy in Africa. End Summary.




2. (U) EU participants included: Roeland van de Geer,
Director for Sub-Saharan Affairs (MFA), Norbert Braakhuis,
Deputy Director, Sub-Saharan Affairs (MFA), Hein Knegt,
Senior Policy Advisor for Sub-Saharan Affairs (MFA), Gerda
Vrielink, Senior Policy Advisor for Sub-Saharan Affairs
(MFA), and Guusje Korthals Altes, Senior Policy Advisor
(Dutch Embassy/Washington), for the Dutch Presidency;
Ambassador Aldo Ajello, EU Special Envoy for the Great Lakes;
Peter Clausen, Jesper Tvevad and Genoveva Hernandez, Africa
Desk Officers for the EU Council Secretariat; Anders
Henriksson, Director for the Horn, East and Southern Africa
(DG DEV), Sipke Brouwer, Director for Central and West
Africa (DG DEV), and Marc van Bellinghen , Deputy Head of
Unit for ACP Issues (DG RELEX) for the European Commission
(EC); and Alain de Muyser, Director for African Affairs (MFA)
and Nadia Ernzer, Senior Advisor for Africa and CIS Affairs
(MFA) for the incoming Luxembourg Presidency. USDEL
consisted of Ambassador Michael Ranneberger (Principal Deputy
Assistant Secretary, AF), John Nay (Director, AF/Regional and
Security Affairs), Patricia Lerner (Development Counselor,
USEU/USAID), and Marc Meznar (Political Officer, USEU/PRM).


Great Lakes


3. (C) In his initial overview of the Great Lakes region,
Ajello said that he is not encouraged by recent developments.
The peace processes in both DRC and Burundi remain fragile,
as does the democratization process in Rwanda. Regarding the
DRC, Ajello said that the existence of parallel structures in
both the government and military -- one official and the
other where real power rests -- is at the root of

instability. DRC's government of national unity is unable to
withstand the "negative forces" emanating from the
President's cabinet and the "maison militaire" which control
the country. Ajello singled out security sector reforms as
the number one priority to stabilize DRC. He said that the
international community has put forth an array of plans to
reorganize the army, but that they should work together to
move this needed objective forward. He expressed optimism
that South Africa and Angola have agreed to cooperate in this
area. Ajello was not optimistic about the World Bank's
program to disarm and demobilize soldiers; he also emphasized
the need to disarm non-Congolese forces in the country.

4. (C) Regarding MONUC, Ajello said he favored reworking its
mandate to remove some responsibilities (such as its
humanitarian mission). Ranneberger said that while the U.S.
favored reviewing MONUC's mission, it did not favor a large
expansion of personnel. The EU side called for increased
attention to the quality of troops being brought in. Van de
Geer commented that while endless numbers of Bangladeshis and
Uruguayans could swell the ranks, troops that cannot speak
the language, don,t know the terrain, and operate in a
"bubble" might only succeed in ruining the reputations of the
UN and MONUC. Ajello contrasted MONUC to the EU's (mainly
French-speaking) Operation Artemis where the perceived and
real readiness to respond to challenges and disturbances was
highly effective. Ajello conceded that although in certain
situations size could compensate for lack of quality, MONUC
should not become "an aggregation of banana republics." He
advocated targeting MONUC forces in Kinshasa, Ituri, and the
Kivus, as well as having a reserve force that can quickly
deploy to areas where a need arises, and training Congolese
forces to deploy with MONUC. When Lerner asked about the
possibility of another EU peacekeeping operation in the Great
Lakes, van de Geer denied there were plans and said it would
not be needed if MONUC could be fixed. Ranneberger said that
the U.S. would not support a massive expansion of MONUC. Van
de Geer said that the EU was preparing a paper with options
for MONUC and would share this. Van de Geer and Ajello said
that one option being considered is to "bring up to speed"
two Congolese brigades to help with disarmament. The South
Africans have indicated that they might be willing to help
with this. Van de Geer and Ajello raised the possibility of
a collaborative U.S./EU/African effort.

5. (C) Regarding Burundi, Ajello said that both sides were
not only pushing for ethnic balance, but also concerned with
the political persuasions of those representing their ethnic
communities. Van de Geer referred to the work of the Dutch
government in mediating between the FNL and the government.
He said that the FNL remains a problem because of the lack of
political progress among the parties in the government of
national unity. Braakhuis noted that while the international
community deplored the massacre of refugees by rebels, no one
said a word when a week later the Government was complicit in
the killing of 200 people. He sketched out a "worst case
scenario" in Burundi as follows: general spread of chaos and
insecurity followed by a 1993-type incident with a military
takeover of power -- one where they would go "all the way"
because power sharing had not worked -- and consequent
destabilization of the neighboring countries.

6. (C) Ajello characterized the Gatumba massacre of refugees
from the DRC as "one of the most horrible things I've seen."
He lamented the fact that, by chance, UNHCR had housed the
Tutsis in green tents and the others in white ones (the
Tutsis had arrived later, after the white tents were all in
use), which made the ethnic-based slaughter easier to carry
out. He also noted that while the GoB had granted permission
to move the camps away from the border, the refugees
themselves seemed determined to return home and thus did not
wish to move further from the border. Van de Geer said that
the attack on DRC refugees in Burundi threatened to undermine
the whole region. Meznar noted that the desire to return
probably stemmed from the lack of security. He noted UNHCR
had put forth an appeal for its work in Burundi and that
funding would help the agency further ensure the safety of
refugees. Meznar also referred to the successful joint
U.S.-EC mission in April which assessed the return of
Burundian refugees from Tanzania.

7. (C) With reference to Rwanda, Ajello said he felt the EU
needed to be more active and frank in dealing with the
government. Despite the historical context and the GOR,s
concerns, "there are limits" beyond which the GOR should not
go, he noted. Ajello asked for increased coordination with
the U.S. in this regard. Van de Geer agreed and said that
the GoR was too "heavy handed."

8. (C) Van de Geer praised the work of the USG in bringing
together foreign ministers from the region on August 24 in
Kampala. U.S. efforts, he said, helped prevent the crisis in
the Congo from spilling over into the region. He warned that
President Kabila is trying to reopen some elements of the
agreed Kampala text. Ranneberger briefed on U.S. plans to
host a signing ceremony on the margins of the UNGA to
formally constitute the Tripartite Commission. Van de Geer
and Ajello expressed strong support. He said that the Great
Lakes Conference scheduled for this November would be another
opportunity for the leaders of the region to interact.
Ranneberger noted the U.S.,s skepticism about the
conference; he asked what the specific agenda would be and
what the EU hoped the conference would accomplish. Van de
Geer said that the EU was also was skeptical, and
"exceedingly frustrated" over the lack of progress in this
regard. Braakhuis noted that on September 13 the "group of
friends" would meet and hopefully move the agenda forward.
He invited the U.S. to participate. (The U.S. delegation
alerted Embassy The Hague.) Ajello said that he would be in
New York on Sept 20 for the UNGA, and expressed interest in
meeting with U.S. officials. Ranneberger said that we would
try to arrange that and be in touch with him directly in New




9. (C) Ranneberger presented a sober analysis on Sudan noting
the north/south negotiations are stalled and that the GoS is
trying to use Darfur as leverage, arguing that it cannot
proceed in the north/south talks while it is under so much
pressure on Darfur. He emphasized the U.S. view that the
north/south talks and resolution of the crisis in Darfur must
move forward in parallel. The two situations are linked in
practical terms. Progress toward a comprehensive north/south
agreement will increase pressure for progress on Darfur, and
both sides know that a north/south agreement cannot be
implemented unless violence is ended in Darfur. Ranneberger
noted that John Garang was currently in Washington and that
the USG was urging him to be helpful in resolving the Darfur
crisis; unfortunately, there are indications that he is
urging the rebels to maintain maximalist positions. The USG
has also warned Garang that time is running out on the peace
process (and its subsequent peace dividend). Garang,
mistakenly in the U.S. view, believes that delay works in his
favor by building pressure on the GOS. Van de Geer said the
EU shares the approach of pushing resolution of both Darfur
and the north/south negotiations in parallel. He noted the
same resistance from Garang to assist in Darfur, despite his
one-day appearance at the Abuja talks. "We can't wait for
him to become Vice President," was van de Geer's message.

10. (C) Ranneberger presented the U.S. assessment of the
situation in Darfur. While there has been significant removal
of some obstacles to humanitarian assistance, the GoS had
taken no credible actions to improve security. The plan of
action developed by SRSG Pronk with the GOS is problematic in
several respects, particularly in creating so-called "safe
areas." The GOS is using the concept to develop "safe areas"
that include rebel-held territory as a pretext to mount
operations against rebel forces in those areas. Recent GOS
attacks involving the use of helicopter gunships, verified by
the AU, highlights GOS failure to respect the ceasefire.
Ranneberger emphasized the need to press the GOS and the
Darfur rebels to move ahead quickly to resolve political and
security issues. The talks thus far have made some progress
in reaching a protocol on humanitarian access to rebel-held
areas, but the rebels will not agree to sign the protocol
until agreement is also reached on a protocol on security
issues. The AU has tabled a compromise security proposal.
Ranneberger reported the U.S. will soon issue a report, based
on interviews with almost 1200 refugees in camps along the
Chad border, which will document the close links between the
GoS and the janjaweid. Van de Geer said the EU is considering
a second fact-finding mission. Regarding public statements
by the head of the first mission (reftel a), Van de Geer said
he regretted the statements allowed the GoS to get the
misimpression that the EU was less concerned than the U.S.
about the situation. He believed that misunderstanding has
since been clarified, however.

11. (C) From the Commission's point of view, Henriksson
questioned whether too much external pressure could provoke
the government to collapse and destabilize the region. He
also wondered whether the GoS was still in control of the
events in Darfur and to what extent a chain of command still
existed in the government. Ranneberger responded that there
is no alternative to maintaining and intensifying pressure.
Pressure could conceivably lead to a shake-up in the
government, but the resulting situation would be no worse
than the current situation. While the GoS has unleashed a
monster in the janjaweid, the GOS is still in a position to
take the necessary political and security steps to stop the
violence. Braakhuis expressed concern over a split within the
government -- "The GoS can control the monster, but can it
control the monster within?"

12. (C) Regarding the Pronk plan, Ranneberger said the USG
had not been consulted and believes that the plan is
seriously flawed. Rather, however, than oppose the Pronk
plan, the U.S. has made clear that its 14-point list of
required steps given to the GOS is still on the table. The
U.S. has indicated that the steps it intends to take,
including in the UNSC, will in part be determined by the U.S.
assessment of GOS actions with respect to the 14 points. Van
de Geer appealed for a united stand on the Pronk plan, noting
he was aware the USG was unhappy that Pronk had underplayed
the negative aspects of the current situation during his UN
presentation. He stated there were also parts of the plan
the EU was unhappy with, and that the EU too would keep its
Council Conclusions of the 12th and the 26th as road maps for
Sudan. "Meeting the Pronk Plan will not get them off the
hook, neither for the EU nor the U.S.," Van de Geer
concluded. There was a brief discussion of the new
U.S.-drafted UNGA resolution (reftel b).

13. (C) Both sides were positive about the involvement of the
AU in Darfur. Ranneberger noted that the AU has moved
quickly and effectively to set up its mission in Darfur. The
AU realizes that its handling of Darfur could be a "make or
break" test case for the organization. Ranneberger
emphasized that continuing EU and U.S. technical, logistical,
and financial support for the AU to ramp up its mission is
essential. Ranneberger reported that the U.S. is publicly
calling for an expansion of the AU mission, and will announce
an additional 21 million dollars for the mission; putting
money on the table will make it harder for both the AU and
the GoS not to move ahead quickly.

14. (C) The U.S. and EU teams agreed that Egyptian
involvement to press the GOS on Darfur is helpful. Efforts
should be made to persuade the Arab League to do more. Van
de Geer expressed concerns about Eritrea's involvement in the
Sudan conflict. Ranneberger described U.S. efforts to press
Eritrea not to exacerbate the situation in Sudan,
particularly in the east.

15. (C) Ranneberger said that, while there is some progress
on the humanitarian front, about 50 percent of the population
cannot be reached on a regular basis, largely due to the
continuing environment of insecurity. Ranneberger reviewed
U.S. efforts to provide humanitarian assistance. Lerner
requested EU help in convincing donor countries to increase
food assistance to Darfur. She noted the U.S. has been very
generous, but will be unable to make further commitments
until and unless the GoS revises its GMO restrictions. Van
de Geer said the Dutch Presidency would take the request to
the Member States, noting that the combined EU total of
assistance so far was about 285 million euros and that the EU
was prepared to give more for the humanitarian response.


Horn of Africa


16. (C) Both sides expressed concern at the lack of tangible
success in dealing with problems that affect Eritrea.
Ranneberger pointed out that President Isaias has a general
disregard for outside pressure. Isaias still has not
accepted the credentials of the new U.S. Ambassador in
Asmara, nor is the U.S. able to influence him on the
detention of two Department foreign service nationals. Nay
said that some tension also was caused by the most recent
U.S. international religious freedom report on Eritrea. The
only glimmer of hope was a commitment to not move
belligerently on the boundary situation "for the time being."
Van de Geer expressed similar frustration with Isaias, but
noted that in a recent meeting the Dutch Development Minister
gave him "a cookie of his own making" (i.e., a hard time).
Van de Geer said that the EU was supporting Axworthy and
standing by the boundary commission, but asked what this
would amount to in the end. The EU is encouraging Axworthy
to convene a meeting in Algiers to brainstorm, perhaps to
have the IMF and World Bank work out a peace dividend plan.
Regarding UNMEE, Nay said that the U.S. is looking at the
numbers carefully. Although perhaps UNMEE,s numbers should
be reduced, rather than pushing for the pullout of a specific
unit, it likely would be better to spread any reduction out
over UNMEE and thus reduce the risk of sending a damaging
signal about the commitment to peace on the border.

17. (C) Due to the press of time, there was only a very short
discussion on Ethiopia. Lerner asked the EU views on the
GoE's resettlement plans. Braakhuis said there were Member
State concerns, but did not elaborate. Henriksson noted
U.S.-EU cooperation under the G8 Famine Initiative and said
the Commission is engaged in a policy dialogue on food
security with Ethiopia, but that the government is not
behaving rationally. He said that Ethiopia is "facing real
choices" regarding its resettlement and agricultural
policies. On another note, Henriksson said that Ethiopia's
engagement with Somalia has been positive.

18. (C) Regarding the peace process in Somalia, Van de Geer
said that many Member States are hopeful about recent
developments and that the EU maintains "very guarded
optimism." He said most of the Member States will be
represented at the inauguration of the transitional national
government, although some still had legal and political
questions (including about Somaliland) to be resolved.
Braakhuis expressed concern that General Morgan and other
rebels might try to challenge the new government; on a more
optimistic note he said that for the first time neighboring
countries did not seem to be supporting the spoilers.
Henriksson asked whether the international community would
respond with targeted sanctions. The EU urged the U.S. to at
least be perceived to engage with Somalia. Ranneberger noted
that the U.S. had contributed 1 million dollars to IGAD to
support the Somalia process, and that another 900,000 dollars
would be made available for engagement with civil society and
efforts to promote reconciliation. Nay said that the U.S.
has issued a public statement welcoming developments in




19. (C) Van de Geer said that the war in the north of Uganda
threatens to destroy the country. Not only does it drain the
budget, but it is destroying President Museveni's image. He
said that Museveni might win a few battles, but that he
cannot win the war. Van de Geer also noted that although
this is currently a "forgotten war," once the press discovers
it Museveni's image will truly suffer. (Van de Geer reported
that Museveni has told the EU that he gets support for the
war from the U.S. and that the U.S. will capture LRA leader
Joseph Kony for him.) Henriksson said that the GoU has
proposals for a big reconstruction program for the north,
which the Commission rejects as an extremely premature

20. (C) Van de Geer said the EU had thought of suggesting a
mediation effort between the LRA and GOU, but that when
Museveni went to the International Criminal Court over Kony
and other leaders the EU felt the need to back away from the
proposal. The Netherlands, however, will remain in contact
with lower echelons in the LRA to maintain options to help
facilitate an end to the conflict.

21. (C) Ranneberger said that 52 percent of the GoU's budget
comes from the international community. He expressed concern
that the GoU is using much of this to acquire weapons beyond
the type and amount legitimately needed, and asked whether
the EU conditions any of its aid, particularly in light of
inappropriate arms purchases. Van de Geer reported that only
the Netherlands has suspended budget support to the GOU
because of arms purchases. Henriksson said that continued
military expenses would serve to undermine public support for
the Commission's assistance to the GoU. Braakhuis noted that
spending on social programs is down, yet overall spending is
up because of costs associated with the Presidency and the
war; he added that Uganda is slipping vis-a-vis IMF criteria
across the board. Both sides agree that the U.S. and EU
should coordinate closely to discourage a third term by




22. (C) Both sides indicated that they were in the midst of
internal reviews regarding their Zimbabwe policy, and agreed
to exchange papers (once the reviews have progressed further)
on how to address the deteriorating political and
socio-economic situations in Zimbabwe. Ranneberger expressed
concern that no concrete results have come from South
Africa's engagement with President Mugabe and said that South
Africa should be more forceful. Van de Geer said that the EU
raised the issue with South Africa at a troika meeting in May
and it seemed as if South Africa had made a genuine -- albeit
unsuccessful -- attempt to influence Mugabe. The EU also
made demarches in all SADC countries, but most have
disengaged in the last few months. Only Angola's response
was surprisingly positive. He said that the UK has a "large,
but guarded" role in addressing the situation in Zimbabwe.
Van de Geer emphasized that the EU will not reverse its tough

23. (C) Van de Geer characterized the SADC election
principles as "the best show in town" and said that the
GoZ,s reported acceptance of the principles is a potentially
positive development that must be followed up vigorously. He
expressed concern, however, that the opposition MDC is still
threatening to boycott the elections and is diminishing as a
viable alternative to the regime. He also said that if the
EU concluded the elections were not "credible and democratic"
it would not feel compelled to rubberstamp a SADC positive
assessment of the elections. The EU will meet with six SADC
members in the Netherlands on October 20 to further discuss
the situation in Zimbabwe. Lerner inquired whether there are
ways the U.S. and EU can work to build capacity for the
elections. Henriksson indicated assent. Nay said that the
U.S. is contributing 400,000 dollars for electoral support
(not channeled through the government, but for programs like
voter education). Van de Geer expressed concern that the new
Zimbabwean government bill on NGOs could effectively kill
civil society in the country. He reported the EU will
maintain its sanctions through the elections.


West Africa


24. (C) Due to time limitations, other issues on the agenda
were not dealt with in as much depth.

-- ECOWAS: The EU had a "frank exchange" at the recent
EU-ECOWAS summit on Charles Taylor, with a difference about
timing. Both the U.S. and EU have a positive assessment of
ECOWAS as contributing to regional stability.

-- Cote d'Ivoire: The EU has engaged in Article 96

-- Nigeria: The U.S. remains concerned about corruption and
religious/regional conflict.

-- Oil: In response to an EU question, the U.S. noted that
although a growing percentage of US petroleum imports comes
from Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea area, this follows the
market and is not part of a specific strategic plan to lessen
dependence on Middle East sources.

-- Liberia: Lerner noted concerns over donor coordination in
Monrovia which may have led to duplication of efforts in some
reconstruction work. Nay said a follow-up meeting on Liberia
reconstruction will take place on September 24.

-- Guinea: Van Bellinghen said the EU opened Article 96
consultations in July and the GoG has agreed to have
elections in 2007. The EU will receive a plan of action by
the end of this month. Until a viable program is in place,
the Commission will not sign the 9th European Development
Fund agreement with Guinea. At the EU-AU Troika meeting on
May 18, Nigeria asked for EU help in getting through to
President Conte, who seems to remain upset with ECOWAS for
not helping Guinea when it was attacked by forces supported
by Charles Taylor. Meznar briefed on plans for a joint
PRM-ECHO monitoring trip to Guinea in early 2005 to assess
the humanitarian situation and GoG relations with UNHCR.

-- Africa Peace Facility: Responding to a U.S. inquiry,
Henriksson explained that there is a black list of items
which cannot be funded with this money. However, he noted
that the Member States have more flexibility with regard to
items such as weapons, ammunition and salaries for soldiers.

-- Other issues briefly discussed included HIV/AIDS and


25. Unlike previous troika discussions, the Presidency
monopolized the EU side of the discussion. Following the
meeting, Council Secretariat staff confided that about 60
percent of what was said by van de Geer reflected Dutch --
not EU -- points for view. Luxembourg was totally silent,
which may mark the tone for the upcoming presidency. Since
Luxembourg has almost no presence in Africa, it is expected
to rely heavily on the Dutch. The EU agreed to Ranneberger's
suggestion that a short list of concrete measures to improve
transatlantic efforts and coordination be drawn up and
reviewed at the next meeting (tentatively scheduled for March
11, 2005). The Council Secretariat will draft the list in
coordination with USEU.

(Ambassador Ranneberger has cleared this message.)

Minimize considered.