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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05ADDISABABA4223
2005-12-28 13:35:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Addis Ababa
Cable title:  

AU BUREAU DIRECTOR ON U.S.-AU RELATIONS, AU

Tags:   PREL  KPKO  SU  AU  ER  ET 
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VZCZCXRO7932
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P 281335Z DEC 05
FM AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8446
INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHKH/AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM PRIORITY 0789
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 2685
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 1680
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 6808
RUEHTRO/USLO TRIPOLI PRIORITY 0080
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUEPGBA/USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 0182
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 ADDIS ABABA 004223 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR AF/FO, AF/RSA, AF/E, L/DL, IO/UNP, S/P.
LONDON AND PARIS FOR AFRICA WATCHERS.

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/28/2015
TAGS: PREL KPKO SU AU ER ET
SUBJECT: AU BUREAU DIRECTOR ON U.S.-AU RELATIONS, AU
SUMMIT, DARFUR

ADDIS ABAB 00004223 001.2 OF 003


Classified By: CHARGE D'AFFAIRES A.I. VICKI HUDDLESTON. REASON: 1.4 (B)
AND (D)

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 ADDIS ABABA 004223

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR AF/FO, AF/RSA, AF/E, L/DL, IO/UNP, S/P.
LONDON AND PARIS FOR AFRICA WATCHERS.

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/28/2015
TAGS: PREL KPKO SU AU ER ET
SUBJECT: AU BUREAU DIRECTOR ON U.S.-AU RELATIONS, AU
SUMMIT, DARFUR

ADDIS ABAB 00004223 001.2 OF 003


Classified By: CHARGE D'AFFAIRES A.I. VICKI HUDDLESTON. REASON: 1.4 (B)
AND (D)


1. (C) Summary: The African Union (AU) welcomes plans to
enhance U.S.-AU relations and is willing to work with the USG
on privileges and immunities for a U.S. Ambassador to the AU,
AU Bureau of the Chairperson Director Mamadou Lamine Diallo
told PolEconCouns and Poloff December 27. The AU plans to
open its own office in Washington early in 2006 and Konare
has tapped a former Chadian Foreign Minister for the post of
Permanent Advisor for its New York office. Diallo also
indicated that despite AU Commission efforts to dissuade
Sudanese President Bashir from running for AU Assembly
Chairman, some AU member states do not appear to understand
the negative impact a Bashir Chairmanship would have on AU
credibility. On Darfur, Diallo emphasized the need to apply
sustained pressure to reach a political settlement. End
summary.

--------------
ENHANCING U.S.-AU RELATIONS
--------------


2. (C) Diallo told PolEconCouns that the AU very much
appreciates U.S. plans to nominate a separate Ambassador to
the AU. Asked by PolEconCouns whether the new headquarters
agreement being negotiated between the AU and the GOE will
address privileges and immunities for non-African Ambassadors
accredited to the AU, Diallo responded that he would work
with the AU Legal Department in that respect. (Note:
Although more than 20 non-African Ambassadors are currently
accredited to the AU, all are double-hatted as Ambassador to
Ethiopia and to the AU. These Ambassadors enjoy privileges
and immunities by virtue of their status with the GOE. The
USG would be the first to nominate a separate Ambassador to
the AU. End note). At PolEconCouns request, Diallo also
pledged to work with the Embassy on ensuring the USG secures
invitations to events such as the upcoming AU Summit, which

are currently given automatically to accredited Embassies
only.


3. (C) Diallo said that the AU intends to open its
Washington, DC office early in 2006 and that the Legal
Department is reviewing privileges and immunities issues. He
acknowledged awareness that the OAU office in New York never
actually enjoyed diplomatic status in the past and that the
President had designated the AU an International Organization
in spring 2005. Diallo noted that the AU has yet to select a
head for the Washington office, but revealed that the
Chairperson has tapped a former Chadian Foreign Minister as
Permanent Advisor for the AU office in New York (Comment: AU
appointment of a Permanent Advisor in New York would signal
increased AU seriousness in coordinating member state
positions at the UN. End comment).


4. (C) Referring to successful inaugural U.S.-AU Policy
Planning Talks in July 2005, PolEconCouns asked if the
Chairperson has considered S/P's invitation to regularize the
talks. Diallo commented that twice-yearly talks may be
difficult for the short-staffed AU to adhere to, but said the
AU would welcome yearly talks in Addis Ababa or Washington
between USG officials and the college of AU Commissioners.
He also noted that the AU and USG could take advantage of
September UNGA meetings to arrange bilateral consultations.

--------------
AU CHAIRMANSHIP - BASHIR STILL LOOMING
--------------


5. (C) Turning to the upcoming AU Summit, PolEconCouns asked
Diallo for current Commission views on Obasanjo's successor
as AU Assembly Chairman. Diallo stated that AU Commission
Chairperson Konare had made great efforts to dissuade
Sudanese President Al-Bashir from running, arguing that it is
"not the right time" for a Sudanese chairmanship (Note:
Diallo asked that we keep Konare's opposition to a Bashir

ADDIS ABAB 00004223 002.2 OF 003


Chairmanship confidential since the Sudanese have accused the
Commission of violating impartiality. End note). Diallo
(strictly protect) commented that although the AU Commission
believes a Bashir chairmanship would be disastrous for AU
credibility, some AU member states do not appear to grasp
that concept. According to Diallo, there is still "high
possibility" that Bashir will win the Assembly chairmanship.
Diallo said that East Africa supports Bashir, but also noted
that Ethiopia had discouraged Bashir from declaring
candidacy. On the possibility of other candidates, Diallo
mentioned rumors that Congo-Brazzavile President Sassou
Nguesso is a front-runner, but said Nguesso has not
officially declared his candidacy.


6. (C) On election mechanics, Diallo said that the Assembly
Chairman will be elected by two-thirds majority in a closed
session of the Assembly just before the January 23-24 Summit
in Khartoum. In reality, though, consensus on the Chair
should be known shortly as the AU Commission will need to
work with the upcoming Chair to prepare the Summit. Diallo
mentioned that Nigeria, Libya, Algeria, Egypt, Senegal,
Ghana, Mali, Benin, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Mauritius and
South Africa are the most active AU members, and are
therefore the most useful targets for potential U.S.
approaches on the issue of succeeding Obasanjo.


7. (C) In a separate meeting, the Nigerian DCM told Poloff
that Nigeria had directly informed Bashir that Sudan would
not be allowed to host the AU Summit if Bashir were to pursue
Assembly Chairmanship. Nigeria firmly believes that a
Sudanese Chairmanship is inappropriate while Darfur remains
unresolved, he said. According to the Nigerian DCM, Obasanjo
is prepared to step down, but wants to ensure a strong
successor. Several Addis-based African diplomats have pegged
Congo-Brazzaville President Sassou Nguesso as the front
runner, but Nigeria may prefer Rwandan President Kagame. The
Nigerian DCM commented that Ethiopian PM Meles would be a
strong candidate, but said Meles appears too distracted by
internal political issues and the border dispute with Eritrea
to declare candidacy. He also lamented that the Tanzanian
president is so new, as a candidate from the East would
likely triumph over a candidate from the Central region.


8. (C) Note: Post is engaging in consultations to prepare a
comprehensive scenesetter ahead of the AU Summit. End note.

-------------- --------------
DARFUR - RE-HATTING TALK DISTRACTS POLITICAL TALKS
-------------- --------------


9. (C) On Darfur and the scheduled January 12 Peace and
Security Council (PSC) decision to determine the future of
AMIS, Diallo said that the AU Commission is still considering
the added value of a UN transition. Diallo stated that
Konare's own thinking is that the international community
must place more pressure on the Sudanese government and the
rebel parties to reach a political settlement. Funding
issues aside, Diallo noted, the AU questions the UN's ability
to perform better than AMIS in the absence of a political
deal. Diallo commented that the UN has natural comparative
advantage when it comes to resettlement, reconstruction and
monitoring. Despite acknowledging that a UN transition would
take several months, he voiced AU fear that the Sudanese
parties will sideline the AU if too much emphasis is placed
on re-hatting and not enough focus is given to securing a
political settlement. Diallo expressed confidence that a
political settlement is possible, perhaps even prior to the
AU Summit, because he assessed that both the government and
rebel groups know a military solution is not achievable, and
that the Sudanese government is serious about addressing
Darfur.

--------------
AU ROLE ON ETHIOPIA-ERITREA
--------------


ADDIS ABAB 00004223 003.2 OF 003



10. (C) Diallo mentioned that the Ethiopia-Eritrea border
issue may be considered during a special Summit session of
the Peace and Security Council. According to Diallo, the AU
Commission favors calling a meeting of the Witnesses in the
near future. PolEconCouns noted that AF DAS Yamamoto plans a
trip to Addis the week of January 9, which will provide an
opportunity to coordinate efforts. Diallo stated that the AU
Commission has so far not placed priority on Algiers
Agreement provisions calling for an OAU investigation on the
causes of the Ethiopia-Eritrea war. He had no comment on the
recent Ethiopia-Eritrea Claims Commission decision finding
Eritrea at fault for starting the conflict.


11. (U) Minimize considered.





HUDDLESTON