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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05NDJAMENA58
2005-01-17 19:49:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Ndjamena
Cable title:  

CHAD'S PRESIDENT'S SON COMES CALLING

Tags:   BEXP  KDEM  PGOV  PHUM  PREL  CD  SU 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.


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FM AMEMBASSY NDJAMENA
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INFO AMEMBASSY ABUJA 
AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 
AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 
AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM 
AMEMBASSY LIBREVILLE 
AMEMBASSY LONDON 
AMEMBASSY NIAMEY 
AMEMBASSY PARIS 
AMEMBASSY YAOUNDE 
NSC WASHDC
AIT TAIPEI 0015
						C O N F I D E N T I A L  NDJAMENA 000058 

SIPDIS


NSC FOR AFRICA SENIOR DIRECTOR COURVILLE AND DIRECTOR SWAYNE
LONDON AND PARIS FOR AFRICA WATCHERS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/15/2015
TAGS: BEXP KDEM PGOV PHUM PREL CD SU
SUBJECT: CHAD'S PRESIDENT'S SON COMES CALLING

REF: NDJAMENA 2074 AND 1686 (2004)

Classified By: Ambassador Marc M. Wall for reasons 1.4 (b and d).



1. (C) Summary. Chad's President Deby will accept the will
of the people expressed in upcoming elections whatever the
outcome, according to his son and personal secretary. The
Ambassador used the opportunity of a meeting with Brahim Deby
to probe into his father's views on staying in power for a
third term and flag interest in encouraging a democratic
transition. The twenty-something Deby also said his father
has tasked him to wrap up a proposal by Globecom Systems for
a major fiber optics communications project. The son claimed
President Deby is doing well after a medical check-up in
France. End Summary.



2. (U) Brahim Deby, President Idriss Deby's eldest son and
personal secretary, visited the Ambassador at the Residence
January 15. He had requested the meeting to discuss Globecom
System's proposal to install a fiber optic communications
system in Chad. The discussion in the Residence's garden
overlooking the Chari River covered much more.



--------------------------


Problems with Chad's Former Ambassador


--------------------------





3. (C) Deby described his recent visit to Miami, Washington
D.C., and New York. He said he had visited Mahamoud Bechir,
Chad's new Ambassador in Washington. He mentioned Bechir's
recent appearance at the White House for his swearing-in
ceremony. He joked about Chad's former Ambassador Soubiane,
who remains in Chad's residence in the Washington area where
he is seeking to organize an overseas opposition front
against President Deby. Soubiane is also widely rumored here
to be in cahoots with Khartoum in stirring up an anti-Deby
rebellion. Soubiane "isn't stable, it's all about his
personal ambition," the younger Deby commented.



--------------------------


President Deby's Health and Travel Plans


--------------------------





3. (C) Brahim Deby said his father, who has spent the last
week in France for medical treatment, was undergoing an
overdue check-up and is doing fine. The President, he said,
is staying on in France to rest and prepare for a visit to
Taiwan in the next week or two. He inquired about our
impressions of Taiwan. He plans to accompany his father on
the trip.



--------------------------


Interest in Globecom's Fiber Optic Project


--------------------------





4. (SBU) Deby said he had been charged by his father to
"work something out" on Globecom System's proposal to install
a fiber optic communications system. The New York-based
company has proposed a nearly USD 190 million project linking

into the fiber optic capacity along the Chad-Cameroon oil
pipeline and extending it to the rest of Chad. Deby recalled
that the Ambassador had mentioned the project in his last
meeting with his father. The Ambassador described the
proposal and shared copies of letters and documents Globecom
Systems had sent Deby's father. He expressed appreciation
for President Deby's interest, agreed with the need to
develop Chad's telecommunications links, and suggested Chad
complete a technical and financial evaluation of the project.
Deby said he would prepare a letter of invitation to
Globecom to visit Chad and pursue discussions.



--------------------------


A Rich and Growing Agenda


--------------------------





5. (C) The Ambassador told Deby he welcomes the opportunity
to represent the United States in a country where we have
such a rich and growing bilateral agenda. He described
recent and planned Congressional visits. He noted Darfur,
Sudanese refugees, cooperation on counter-terrorism, and
Chad's oil revenue management scheme as issues of special

concern. Deby said Chad is eager to cooperate with and has
much to learn from the United States. He commented that Chad
is a "pioneer" in its plan to manage oil revenues. The
Ambassador said the United States also wants to do what it
can to strengthen democratic institutions in Chad. Deby
cited plans to hold a referendum on revising the constitution
to permit his father to stay on in power. He observed that
the United States only rarely amended its constitution. The
Ambassador noted that the United States had done the reverse
of what Chad is preparing to do in how our Constitution
treats term limits. In 1951, the United States adopted an
amendment to allow the President to serve no more than two
terms.



--------------------------


Broaching Concerns About Presidents-for-Life


--------------------------





6. (C) Keying off comments by Chad's Foreign Minister at a
dinner with Senator Feingold January 13 (septel), the
Ambassador broached the issue of a U.S. visit by President
Deby. The son referred to the Corporate Council for Africa's
invitation to attend the U.S.-Africa business summit in June.
He recalled his father's visit to the Pentagon as Chad's
Army Chief of Staff in the eighties. The Ambassador said he
would like to encourage Washington to receive his father
again, but his ability to do so would depend on what happens
with the referendum and the following presidential elections.
He said we would respect the outcome of a process conducted
freely and transparently. We would also look forward to
working together to strengthen cooperation even further. But
he stressed that our deepest values as a nation lead us to
believe in the importance of putting in place a process for
handing power over peacefully. We are uncomfortable with the
idea of a "president-for-life," he added.



7. (C) The younger Deby said much has changed in Chad since


1990. The press is free and people can speak out against the
government. He said a democratic electoral process would
move forward and the government would accept whatever the
people decide. He raised concerns about the need to maintain
stability. Chad does not want to go the way of Cote
d'Ivoire, he said. He did not see anyone else capable of
assuming leadership. He also did not think that the U.S.
model could be applied directly to Chad. He mentioned that
Gabon's President Bongo is seeking a mandate to continue in
power.



8. (C) In reply, the Ambassador questioned whether Bongo
should be considered a good example. He stressed the need
for enlightened leadership in facilitating a democratic
transition. He highlighted his respect for President Deby's
achievements and his view that Deby has an opportunity to
secure his reputation as a leading African statesman. He
reiterated that much would depend on what happens over the
next six months or year. He said he would welcome the chance
to pursue these issues with President Deby. The younger Deby
eagerly agreed that such an exchange would be valuable.



--------------------------


Comment


--------------------------





9. (C) The polite and self-effacing manner of Deby's eldest
son in this encounter belied his reputation as a
rabble-rouser. He has brawled with French soldiers in bar
fights in N'Djamena and tangled with the law in Canada over
allegedly having issued death threats. His father's move to
appoint him personal secretary after his return from his
studies in Ottawa last summer raised hackles that the
President was trying to groom his son to be his successor.
The son, for his part, claims only that he plans to return
overseas to pursue a doctorate in politics or finance. He
serves now as perhaps the most direct link to President Deby.
We will look for further opportunities to pursue this
dialogue with the elder Deby face-to-face.



10. (C) Needless to say, the claim by the son that the
father will accept the will of the people voiced in free
elections is disingenuous. There is little doubt here that
the President will get his way on the referendum to overturn

term limits, even if the voting is free of irregularities.
Nor is there doubt that he would win an election for a third
five-year term, as he now appears committed to seeking. Our
views on his plans would nonetheless not be ignored. As our
dialogue with him on this subject deepens, we will need to
consider how to use his interest in a visit to Washington to
advance our agenda in Chad, including encouraging democratic
change.



11. (U) Khartoum and Tripoli minimize considered.
WALL


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