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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06ABUJA644 2006-03-22 13:28:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Abuja
Cable title:  

ECOWAS CONCERNED ABOUT GUINEA

Tags:   PREL PGOV KDEM GV XY ECOWAS 
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1. (C) Dr. Mohammed Ibn Chambas, the Executive Secretary of
ECOWAS, voiced concerns about the state of Guinean President
Conte's health and the political stability of Guinea during a
meeting with the Ambassador on March 21. Chambas said that
he wants to maintain close contact with the Embassy and the
USG on Guinea-related issues, and hopes to share information
on a regular basis.

The ECOWAS Assessment


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





2. (C) ECOWAS has been aware of Conte's move to Geneva since
the weekend, and Chambas was especially disturbed by reports
he has received that the Guinean Ambassador to Switzerland
was denied access to his President, fueling concerns about
the true state of Conte's health. Chambas has consulted with
the member states to discuss options should Conte not return
to Guinea. Chambas said the heads of state have all agreed
that nobody will accept the intervention of military into
Guinean politics. In the event that the President of the
National Assembly does assume power, Chambas will immediately
travel to Conakry, with several ECOWAS foreign ministers, as
a public show of support for the new leader and to begin
planning for elections. (Note: Chambas said that President
Obasanjo has made a plane available for ECOWAS to travel to
Guinea, if it is needed. End note.) The ECOWAS Heads of
State will then plan an extraordinary summit prior to any
election to again lend public support to the constitutional
process. Chambas noted that, with the Togo experience in
mind, he has counseled Sompare not to travel outside of the
Guinea in the near future.



3. (C) ECOWAS sees four possible scenarios in Guinea if
Conte dies. The first, and most desirable, is for Sompare to
assume power and lead Guinea to a national election,
preferably without running for the Presidency himself.
Chambas said the recent local elections in Guinea have left
voter registrations up to date, removing one possible
obstacle to national elections. Chambas is concerned,
however, that Sompare is not close enough to the power
structures in Guinea to be either accepted as a leader or to
be effective. The second scenario Chambas laid out was the
intervention of senior military leaders, attempting to
maintain their own status quo. The third scenario would be
the intervention of junior officers, either directly or in
reaction to a senior leader coup. Chambas said the Guinean
opposition has told him in the past that they prefer this
scenario, "letting those young boys sort things out." The
final scenario Chambas discussed was his "nightmare" -- the
political center fails to hold and Guinea disintegrates into
violence.


Comment


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




4. (C) Chambas has long been deeply concerned over a
possible succession crisis in Guinea. In the past, he has
viewed Togo as a test case for Guinea. With respect to
Guinea, ECOWAS will seek to quickly move ahead with
constitutionally-mandated elections, accepting the results
even if flawed, and then work on reforms in advance of the
next constitutionally-mandated election.
CAMPBELL