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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06ABIDJAN1376 2006-12-14 14:28:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Abidjan
Cable title:  

COTE D'IVOIRE: POLITICAL PROCESS DRIFTING

Tags:   PGOV PREL ASEC IV 
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VZCZCXRO5315
PP RUEHPA
DE RUEHAB #1376/01 3481428
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 141428Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY ABIDJAN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2300
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA 1485
RUEHKI/AMEMBASSY KINSHASA 0386
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ABIDJAN 001376 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

KINSHASA PASS TO BRAZZAVILLE

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/14/2016
TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC IV
SUBJECT: COTE D'IVOIRE: POLITICAL PROCESS DRIFTING

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



1. (C) Summary. Well into the second month of Cote
d'Ivoire's second year of transition to postponed elections,
the political process continues to drift. President Gbagbo
is essentially ignoring UN Security Council Resolution 1721
and defying the peace process, and the political opposition
has been unsuccessful in mounting large-scale street protests
against him. Prime Minister Banny has formed working groups
on identification and military reform, but they are
consultative, not decision-making bodies. He has also
announced the imminent resumption of the identification
process, a crucial step toward elections, but the leader of
President Gbagbo's party came out against this move. Rebel
leader Guillaume Soro restructured his armed forces in ways
that will make it more difficult to integrate them with
government armed forces. The military continues to play an
ambiguous role. The Ivoirians seem to feel no sense of
urgency, and the likelihood of getting to elections by next
October seems increasingly remote. End Summary.



2. (C) Well into the second month after Cote d'Ivoire's
second year of transition to postponed elections began, with
the adoption of UN Security Council resolution 1721, the
political process continues to drift.



3. (C) President Gbagbo, after delivering two body blows to
the peace process by taking control of both state-owned TV
and radio and the state-owned newspaper and by reinstating to
their former senior positions three of his cronies who were
implicated in the toxic waste disaster, is now hanging back,
presumably gauging the strength of public opposition to these
moves. Notably, Gbagbo has not released his proposals for
implementing UNSCR 1721, which he promised to do after two
weeks of "consultations with the population" in early
November. In essence, for the moment Gbagbo is essentially
defying the peace process and ignoring the Resolution.
Meanwhile, the political opposition attempted but failed to
mount large-scale street demonstrations against Gbagbo's
latest moves.



4. (C) Prime Minister Banny has returned to Yamoussoukro,
where he told the Ambassador he prefers to remain for
security reasons instead of in Abidjan. Banny did establish
the two working groups called for by UNSCR 1721: on
identification and on military reform, as he promised at the
December 1 IWG. However, these are only consultative, not
decision-making bodies. Banny has also promised to re-launch
the identification process (registering the 3.5 - 4 million
undocumented Ivoirians and foreigners -- a crucial step
toward preparing for elections) on December 18. The last
time Banny tried to launch the mobile courts -- audiences
foraines -- to carry out the identification process,
pro-Gbagbo militias blocked many of them from functioning and
Gbagbo eventually halted the process by declaring that these
particular courts were empowered only to issue birth
certificates, not certificates of nationality. Banny has now
nearly completed setting up parallel courts to issue the
nationality certificates. However, as soon as Banny
announced the resumption of identification, Affi N'Guessan,
the head of President Gbagbo's FPI (Ivoirian Popular Front)
party, immediately came out against resuming identification
without concomitantly resuming disarmament.



5. (C) The rebel FN (New Forces), who suspended their
participation in disarmament in August to protest Gbagbo's
blocking of the identification process, have not publicly
reacted to Banny's announcement of its resumption. Dacouri
Tabli, a senior FN official, indicated to us that the FN
would prefer to go back to the previous procedure where one
court could issue both birth and nationality certificates.
In any case, last week FN Secretary General Guillaume Soro
restructured the FAFN (Armed Forces of the New Forces) to
more closely resemble the structure of the government FANCI
(Armed Forces of Cote d'Ivoire), a move that is likely to
make the integration of the two armies more difficult.



6. (C) The government security forces continue to play an
ambiguous role. Earlier this month, FANCI Chief of Staff
General Philippe Mangou seemed to be trying to play the role
of mediator, meeting with Prime Minister Banny and with
leaders of the political opposition. However, on December
12, the spokesman for the security forces accused an
opposition politician of plotting a coup attempt.



7. (C) Comment. The Ivoirians seem to feel no sense of
urgency, and the likelihood of getting to elections by next
October seems increasingly remote. Indeed, the AU/ECOWAS
progress report, which UNSCR 1721 calls for by February 1,

ABIDJAN 00001376 002 OF 002


may show little or no progress at all. It seems increasingly
clear that Gbagbo is afraid of holding elections he cannot
fully control, and he may be waiting for the French elections
in the hope that the new French president will disengage from
the Cote d'Ivoire crisis. The opposition, unable to mount
large-scale protests against Gbagbo, also has no effective
strategy for negotiating an end to this crisis and largely
limits itself to feeble pleas to the international community
to take a more aggressive stance in Cote d'Ivoire. End
Comment.
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