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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
07CONAKRY244 2007-02-27 09:20:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Conakry
Cable title:  

TFGV01: LANSANA KOUYATE: GUINEA'S NEW PRIME

Tags:   PGOV PINR PINS AEMR ASEC CASC GV 
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VZCZCXRO8679
OO RUEHPA
DE RUEHRY #0244/01 0580920
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 270920Z FEB 07
FM AMEMBASSY CONAKRY
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0744
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEHFT/GOLFCO MSGBN AMCONGEN FRANKFURT GE IMMEDIATE
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE//POLAD/J2/J5// IMMEDIATE
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 CONAKRY 000244 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

FOR GUINEA TASK FORCE, AF/W, AF/EX, CA/OCS, DS/IP/AF
PLEASE ALSO PASS TO AID/AFR, PEACE CORPS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/26/2017
TAGS: PGOV PINR PINS AEMR ASEC CASC GV
SUBJECT: TFGV01: LANSANA KOUYATE: GUINEA'S NEW PRIME
MINISTER

REF: CONAKRY 238 AND PREVIOUS

Classified By: PolOff Jessica Davis Ba, Reason 1.4 (b,d)

------------------------------
Conte Names New Prime Minister
------------------------------



1. (SBU) On February 26, President Lansana Conte named
Lansana Kouyate as Guinea's new Prime Minister. The
announcement on the evening news was met by cheers in the
streets and spontaneous celebrations in neighborhoods
throughout the country. The decree stated that former Prime
Minister Eugene Camara was "called to other functions."
Kouyate will arrive in Guinea today and begin the first of
many difficult tasks ahead: assembling his new cabinet.



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


Biographical Information


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





2. (C) Lansana Kouyate was born in Koba, a town about 200 km
from Conakry in the Lower Guinea Region. His official bio
states his year of birth as 1950, although some contacts have
suggested he is several years older. Kouyate's mother is a
Soussou from Conte's village; his father is a Malinke of the
lower griot caste. Kouyate is a respected diplomat and
technocrat with significant international experience. He has
not worked in Guinea however, for more than 20 years. He has
been tapped before to serve as Prime Minister but has always
rejected the offer. We understand Kouyate's acceptance of
the Prime Minister position this time was predicated on his
designation as Head of Government.


3. (U) Prior to his appointment, Kouyate was the Special
Representative of "la Francophonie," working on elections and
transparency issues from Abidjan. Previously, he served as
ECOWAS Executive Secretary from 1997 until Chambas assumed
this position in 2002. Kouyate was U.N. Assistant Secretary
General for Political Affairs focusing on West African issues
between 1994 and 1997. He has also been Vice President of
the U.N. Economic and Social Council and was U.N. special
representative on Somalia from 1993 to 1994. A career
diplomat since 1985, Kouyate was Guinea's Permanent
Representative to the United Nations in New York in 1992-93
and also served as Guinea's ambassador to Egypt, Sudan,
Turkey, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon.



4. (U) Kouyate studied at the National School of
Administration at the University of Conakry and began his
career in the mid 1970s in various mid-level administrative
positions within the government. Between 1982 and 1983,
Kouyate was appointed Vice Director General of an
agricultural development project financed by USAID, the
African Development Bank, and the UN Fund for Agricultural
Development. Kouyate is the author of two books,
"International Financing for State Enterprises in Guinea;
Problems and Perspectives" and "The End of the Cold War and
its Impact on Third World Countries." He is married and has
three children.



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


Comment


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





5. (C) Kouyate's diplomatic skills and high-level
international contacts and experience will stand him in good
stead on the technical front as he faces Guinea's economic
and structural problems. The larger challenges will be
political, however. Authoritarian regimes do not die easily.
Members of old regime have made no pronouncements since last
Friday. They must be licking their wounds; we fear they are
also planning their revenge/come-back. Kouyate's immediate
challenge is to form a viable government of broad national
consensus. If the new government is too open to newcomers,
then the hard-liners will surge against it. If it is not
open enough to newcomers, then the people will return to the
street. This will be a delicate balancing act for Kouyate.



6. (C) To bring Guinea within reach of a healthier financial
future, Kouyate will have to implement steps likely to be
unpopular, to say the least, with the very population who
have jubilantly greeted his appointment today. Moreover, as
a lower-caste individual with family ties to Conte and no
recent experience negotiating a tricky clan-based terrain,
Kouyate offers several pressure points to those who like the
old ways best. All will be trying to get their men (or

CONAKRY 00000244 002 OF 002


women) into positions of influence without regard for
Guinea's best interests. And many will have direct access to
Conte, the real locus of Guinea's plight and the man who can
still stop Kouyate with a couple of words: "You're fired."
MCDONALD