wikileaks ico  Home papers ico  Cables mirror and Afghan War Diary privacy policy Privacy
Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06ABIDJAN1070
2006-09-22 16:52:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Abidjan
Cable title:  

COTE D'IVOIRE: EVENTS AND RHETORIC HEATING UP AS

Tags:   PREL  PGOV  KPKO  ASEC  IV 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXRO7608
PP RUEHPA
DE RUEHAB #1070/01 2651652
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 221652Z SEP 06
FM AMEMBASSY ABIDJAN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1952
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA 1443
RUEHKI/AMEMBASSY KINSHASA 0356
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ABIDJAN 001070 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

KINSHASA PASS TO BRAZZAVILLE

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/22/2016
TAGS: PREL PGOV KPKO ASEC IV
SUBJECT: COTE D'IVOIRE: EVENTS AND RHETORIC HEATING UP AS
OCTOBER APPROACHES

Classified By: POL/ECON Jim Wojtasiewicz, reasons 1.4 (B) and (D).



1. (C) Summary. Events and rhetoric are heating up but
proceeding largely as expected as October 31 approaches. The
local press is reporting that the September 20 meeting in New
York chaired by Secretary General Annan and attended by key
African leader and all the key Ivoirian political leaders
except President Gbagbo went no further than taking stock of
the blockages in the peace process. Now, just as a year ago,
ECOWAS (the Economic Union of West African States) and the AU
(African Union) will move forward to devise proposed
post-October transition arrangements for the Security Council
to consider. Gbagbo is saying negotiations are finished, the
UN has failed and he will soon propose his own peace plan.
Meanwhile, opposition leaders are calling for all or most of
Gbagbo's powers to be taken away after October, and are
sugesting that the constitution should be suspended. Right
now Gbagbo and the opposition have staked out positions very
far apart from each other, but it is likely that in the end
both sides will accept things that they previously
categorically rejected. End Summary.



2. (C) Events are picking up speed but proceeding largely as
expected as October 31 approaches, when the one-year
extension of President Gbagbo,s mandate will expire with
elections nowhere in sight.



3. (C) According to local press reports, the September 20
meeting on Cote d,Ivoire in New York, chaired by Secretary
General Annan and attended by several key African leaders and
four out of five principal Ivoirian political leaders, went
no further than taking stock of the blockages in the peace
process. President Gbagbo did not attend, despite a last
minute invitation from South African President Mbeki for
Gbagbo to accompany him to New York in his aircraft.
Instead, Gbagbo said in an interview with Le Monde that the
UN,s effort to solve Cote d,Ivoire,s crisis has failed,
the time for negotiations is finished, and he will soon
announce his own peace plans.



4. (C) Even though some international press accounts
described it as a failure, the outcome of the New York
meeting was not a surprise. It was expected all along that
this meeting would only set the stage for the Economic Union
of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union to
devise a proposed way forward, just as happened a year ago.
After that the Security Council would base its final
decisions about the post-October transition on the ECOWAS/AU
proposals. Indeed, according to local press reports, ECOWAS
has now scheduled a meeting for October 4 to start this
process moving. Without doubt, the AU Peace and Security
Council will meet soon after that to consider the ECOWAS

proposal. The Security Council meeting to discuss the Cote
d,Ivoire post-October transition is reportedly scheduled for
October 17.



5. (C) Ivoirian political leaders are stepping up their
public rhetoric on how that transition should look. The two
main political opposition leaders, former President Bedie and
former Prime Minister Ouattara, told the Ivoirian press from
New York September 20 that the Ivoirian constitution should
be suspended. Of the two, Bedie,s announcement is more
significant, because in the 2003 French-brokered peace talks
leading up to the Linas-Marcoussis agreement, Ouattara and
rebel leader Soro argued that the constitution should be
suspended, while Bedie sided with President Gbagbo that it
should not. From New York, Ouattara also said that after
October 31 the Prime Minister should have complete executive
power. Bedie did not go quite that far, but he said the
Prime Minister should have much stronger powers including
command over the armed forces. Rebel leader Soro publicly
repeated his earlier rejection of any extension of President
Gbagbo's term in office after october.



6. (C) Prime Minister Banny stayed behind in New York for a
working lunch with ECOWAS leaders, according to press
reports, to lobby them in advance of their October 4 meeting.
Meanwhile back in Abidjan, a group of Banny,s political
advisers met with POL/ECON Counselor September 19, at their
request, to press hard for the international community to
strengthen Banny,s powers in the post-October transition.
When asked, they did not say specifically what additional
powers Banny wants, other than the ability to change Ivoirian
law to expedite the ongoing process of registering
undocumented Ivoirians and foreigners born in Cote d,Ivoire.
However, they did say emphatically that the decisions of
international organizations, which Cote d,Ivoire is, a
member of -- i.e. ECOWAS, the AU and the UN -- should take

ABIDJAN 00001070 002 OF 002


legal precedence over the Ivoirian constitution.



7. (C) Also back in Abidjan, some 400 Young Patriot militia
members marched (without incident) through the downtown
streets September 20 to a rally in front of the Presidency,
to declare their support for Gbagbo and the constitution.
Gbagbo came out and mingled with the crowd, and took the
occasion to repeat to local reporters that negotiations are
finished (but he is still open to discussions) and that he
will soon announce his own peace plan. Later in the day on
Ivoirian TV, Gbagbo,s press spokesman Desire Tagro was
pressed hard to provide details of Gbagbo,s plan but he
refused.



8. (C) Comment. It is not hard to guess what Gabgbo's "peace
plan" is likely to be: elections almost immediately, based on
an updated version of the voters list from 2000; suspension
of the identification process until after the elections, on
the grounds that it is too time-consuming and politically
controversial; and immediate and unconditional disarmament of
the rebel FN (New Forces) and reunification of the country --
all "red flag" issues for the opposition. Whatever he
proposes, clearly Gbagbo and the opposition have staked out
positions very far apart from each other. However, it is
entirely possible, even likely, that both sides will end up
accepting things that they previously categorically rejected.
End Comment.
Hooks