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E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/06/2016 TAGS: PREL PGOV KPKO ASEC IV SUBJECT: COTE D'IVOIRE: UN SECRETARY GENERAL CHAIRS MINI-SUMMIT IN YAMOUSSOUKRO
Classified By: POL/ECON Jim Wojtasiewicz, reasons 1.4 (B) and (D).
1. (C) Summary. UNSYG Annan chaired a mini-summit on Cote d'Ivoire in which participants set several deadlines to accelerate key elements of the peace process, including identification, DDR, and organization of elections. There was no discussion of possible scenarios if presidential elections are postponed beyond October but the SYG announced plans to hold a meeting on Cote d'Ivoire on the margins of the UN General Assembly in September to assess the situation and take any necessary measures. Opposition figures professed satisfaction with the Yamoussoukro meeting but we will have to see if the measures agreed upon are in fact implemented. Since the first deadlines are set for July 15, we will not have long to wait. End summary.
2. (SBU) On July 5, UN Secretary General Koffi Annan made a short visit to Cote d,Ivoire to host a "mini-summit" on the Ivoirian peace process. The meeting was attended by Nigerian President Obasanjo, South African president Mbeki, Republic of the Congo Foreign Minister Adada, Ghanaian Foreign Minister Akuffo-Addo, and representatives of the presidents of Niger, Burkina Faso, and Mali. On the Ivoirian side, it was attended by all but one of the country's principal political leaders: President Gbagbo; Prime Minister Banny; former Prime Minister Ouattara, leader of the opposition RDR (Rally of Republicans) party; and Guillaume Soro, leader of the rebel New Forces (FN). Conspicuously absent was former President Bedie, leader of the opposition PDCI (Democratic Party of Cote d'Ivoire). Bedie was represented by PDCI Secretary General Djedje Mady.
3. (C) The meeting took place from 1430 to 1830 at the Felix Houphouet-Boigny Foundation in Yamoussoukro. We understand that Annan originally wanted to hold this meeting on the margins last weekend's African Union (AU) summit, but Gbagbo refused and the venue was changed to Yamoussoukro according to Abou Moussa, ONUCI Deputy UN Special Representative of the Secretary General.
4. (C) The participants issued a communique at the end of the meeting that set several deadlines. By July 15, 50 mobile courts are to be deployed throughout the country to expedite the citizen identification process in preparation for voter registration and elections. Also by July 15, a DDR (Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration) monitoring committee is to be created including representatives from the UN Peacekeeping Mission in Cote d'Ivoire (ONUCI), the French Licorne peacekeeping force, the Prime Minister,s office, and the chiefs of staff of the Ivoirian Armed Forces (FANCI) and the FN armed forces (FAFN). By July 15, President Gbagbo is to issue a decree authorizing the Independent Electoral Commission (CEI) to change the electoral code in order to facilitate elections. (The current electoral code requires voter lists to be made available for public inspection for at least ninety days after they are finished, a requirement that would be impossible to meet if elections are to be held by October 31.). By July 31, the pre-regroupment phase of disarmament, in which ex-combatants from FANCI and the FN are assembled in designated locations under their own command structures, is to be completed; pro-Gbagbo militias are to be dismantled; and local offices of the CEI are to be deployed throughout the country. (the FANCI has indicated that it has already completed pre-regroupment of its troops. FN spokesman Sidiki Konate told us July 6 that the FN have pre-regrouped 30,000 of 33,000 troops in 45 sites. He expected that the remaining FN troops would be pre-regrouped in five additional sites over the next few days and the process should be completed by Sunday, July 9. The DDR monitoring committee is tasked with certifying that the pre-regroupment process has been completed successfully.)
5. (U) The communique also reiterated the importance of free circulation for UN peacekeeping forces, especially to observe the DDR process. It called on political leaders to urge journalists associated with their parties to contribute constructively to peace process and noted that people who incite hatred are subject to UN sanctions.
6. (C) The communique reaffirmed paragraph 6 of the Pretoria 2 agreement, which states in part, "The leaders reaffirmed that the CEI is the sole institution in charge of the electoral process and the National Institute of Statistics (INS) should report to the CEI on matters relating to the elections." (Note: The purpose of this language was to declare unambiguously that the INS, which is controlled by Gbagbo cronies, is subservient to the CEI, which the Pretoria Agreement made truly independent. However, Gbagbo has taken
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to asserting that paragraph 6 means exactly the opposite -- that the INS alone is in charge of voter registration and needs only to keep the CEI informed of what it is doing.)
7. (U) The communique also called for a donors conference to be convened to assure adequate financing for the elections, as soon as sufficient progress has been marked in the electoral process.
8. (U) Finally, the communique welcomed the Secretary General's intention to organize a meeting in September, on the margins of the UN General Assembly, to assess the situation in Cote d'Ivoire and take measures as appropriate.
9. (C) PDCI Secretary General Djedje Mady told us July 6 that the opposition was pleased with the outcome of the meeting, but, as always, it remained to be seen whether the agreement would in fact be implemented. FN spokesman Sidiki Konate told us the same day that the FN also felt that the meeting was positive and frank. He said all agreed that the peace process is on track but needs to be accelerated. Konate confirmed that the purpose of the presidential decree concerning the electoral process would be to eliminate the 90-day waiting period between the completion of voter registration lists and the holding of elections. Konate acknowledged that there was still some ambiguity concerning the relative roles of the CEI and the INS, and there will need to be good will on the part of both institutions to implement that part of the communique correctly. He said the CEI intends to put the voter registration process out to public tender. The INS will be free to bid on this tender, but will only be selected if it is the best institution to do the job. Both Mady and Konate indicated that there was no discussion of post-October scenarios if the elections cannot be held by then but expected that the issue will be addressed if necessary in September at the UN.
10. (C) Comment. The Ivoirians have shown repeatedly that they are happy to sign agreements in which they promise the moon to each other and to the international community but then lack the political will to follow through on their promises. This latest agreement represents one last burst of energy and enthusiasm to try to get to the elections more or less on time. With the first deadlines only nine days away, it will become clear very soon whether this time the Ivoirians are serious. End Comment. Hooks