|07ABIDJAN245||2007-03-06 11:57:00||CONFIDENTIAL||Embassy Abidjan|
VZCZCXRO6835 RR RUEHPA DE RUEHAB #0245 0651157 ZNY CCCCC ZZH R 061157Z MAR 07 ZDK FM AMEMBASSY ABIDJAN TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2678 INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
C O N F I D E N T I A L ABIDJAN 000245
1. (C) Former President Bedie, former Prime Minister
Ouattara, and current Prime Minister Banny told the
Ambassador on March 5 that they are cautiously optimistic
concerning the Ouaga Agreement signed the previous day. They
all noted, however, that the agreement raises as many
questions as it answers, and ultimately implementation of the
agreement will depend on political will, especially on the
part of President Gbagbo. None of the three seemed to have
made a thorough analysis of the agreement, and much of their
commentary had to be solicited with specific questions. They
are all now in a wait-and-see mode.
2. (C) Ouattara expressed the hope that the Ouaga Agreement
will take Cote d'Ivoire quickly to elections. He quoted
President Compaore as saying that President Gbagbo is tired
of the crisis and is suffering from health problems.
Ouattara observed that President Gbagbo may finally be
prepared to turn the page. Ouattara made it very clear,
however, that the Ouaga Agreement is an agreement between the
two belligerents, not among all the political actors. He
confirmed that he plans to participate in the Permanent
Council for Consultation called for in the agreement.
Ouattara commented that failure to implement the Ouaga
Agreement could deepen the divide between the North and
South, thus prolonging the crisis by years.
3. (C) President Bedie was rather skeptical that the
agreement will be faithfully implemented. Furthermore, he
did not agree to institutional changes, such as changing the
prime minister. He emphasized that the agreement must remain
within the framework of UNSC Resolution 1721. Bedie opined
that President Gbagbo was motivated by a desire to get rid of
PM Banny and to make a deal with Soro to organize elections
that would not be credible. Bedie said that he could not
give his full approval to the Ouaga Agreement, but that he
would participate in the Permanent Council for Consultations.
He had not yet decided whether his PDCI party would
participate in the new government called for in the agreement.
4. (C) Prime Minister Banny is clearly hurt by being
sidelined by the Ouaga Agreement, although he tried to cover
it up with a jovial "I'm waiting like everybody else"
attitude. He tried to associate himself indirectly with the
agreement by calling himself the apostle of direct talks as
he was the first to make that proposal. Secondly, there is
nothing new in the agreement that he had not proposed
already, with the exception of the possibility of registering
to vote and obtaining an identity card without first
acquiring a certificate of nationality. Banny said he
therefore has no problems with the substance of the
agreement. However, what is omitted is as important as what
is said. The agreement refers to the formation of a new
government, although no one has explained to him how that is
going to be done. He had earlier asked President Gbagbo for
a briefing on the direct talks, but Gbagbo had said he would
call Banny as soon as he had something concrete. The
agreement has been signed, but Banny has yet to hear from
Gbagbo. Banny said he is waiting to hear from Gbagbo and
Soro as to next steps, but in the meantime he is continuing
to work, at least at the sectoral level (i.e. arranging
deckchairs on the Titanic).