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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
09ABUJA590
2009-04-06 16:45:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Abuja
Cable title:  

ECOWAS' RESPONSE TO EVENTS IN GUINEA-BISSAU

Tags:   ECOWAS  KPKO  PGOV  PREL  MASS  SNAR  PU  GV  CU  PO 
pdf how-to read a cable
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PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN RUEHTRO
DE RUEHUJA #0590/01 0961645
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 061645Z APR 09
FM AMEMBASSY ABUJA
TO RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR PRIORITY 0371
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5687
INFO RUEHOS/AMCONSUL LAGOS PRIORITY 1087
RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE
RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD 0164
RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 0372
RUEHLI/AMEMBASSY LISBON 0029
RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID 0076
RUEHPA/AMEMBASSY PRAIA 0007
RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA 1780
RUEHYD/AMEMBASSY YAOUNDE 0737
RHMFISS/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 ABUJA 000590 

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/W, INR/AA
DEPARTMENT FOR SUSAN MCCARTY AND MIKE BITTRICK
BAGHDAD FOR DMCCULLOUGH

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/25/2019
TAGS: ECOWAS KPKO PGOV PREL MASS SNAR PU GV CU PO
SG, CV, GH, NI
SUBJECT: ECOWAS' RESPONSE TO EVENTS IN GUINEA-BISSAU

REF: ABUJA 418

ABUJA 00000590 001.2 OF 003


Classified By: Political Counselor Walter N.S. Pflaumer for reasons 1.4
(b) and (d)

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 ABUJA 000590

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/W, INR/AA
DEPARTMENT FOR SUSAN MCCARTY AND MIKE BITTRICK
BAGHDAD FOR DMCCULLOUGH

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/25/2019
TAGS: ECOWAS KPKO PGOV PREL MASS SNAR PU GV CU PO
SG, CV, GH, NI
SUBJECT: ECOWAS' RESPONSE TO EVENTS IN GUINEA-BISSAU

REF: ABUJA 418

ABUJA 00000590 001.2 OF 003


Classified By: Political Counselor Walter N.S. Pflaumer for reasons 1.4
(b) and (d)


1. (C) SUMMARY: On April 2, Poloff met with ECOWAS Director
of Political Affairs Dr. Abdel Fatah-Musa to discuss ECOWAS'
next steps in Guinea-Bissau. Fatah-Musa, who has long
followed Guinea-Bissau politics, related background
information about what he said had led to the double
assassinations of President Bernando Vieira and Armed Forces
Chief of Staff Baptista Tagme Na Wai, and then described
ECOWAS' plans to work with its international partners to
assist Guinea-Bissau in reforming its security sector and
holding credible elections. He suggested that the USG could
be most helpful in assisting to provide funding to security
sector reform (SSR), as a counter to Portugal who, in his
view, has been obstructionist and unhelpful in ECOWAS'
efforts to stabilize Guinea-Bissau. He also said that the
U.S. would be invited to an April 20 summit in Praia, Cape
Verde, to try and coordinate SSR details; at the moment his
best guess was that Guinea Bissau would need an eventual
deployment of a military/police contingent numbering around
2000 personnel. Poloff told Fatah-Musa he was in a listening
mode on the issue, but would pass along ECOWAS' desire for
the USG to provide funding for SSR assistance. Meanwhile,
Ambassador has been clear with GON Foreign Minister Maduekwe
in his capacity as representing President Yar'Adua in his
current capacity as Chairman of ECOWAS what the USG views are
regarding involvement in Guinea Bissau's current challenges

(reftel). Maduekwe has led the two ECOWAS assessment teams
to the country that followed the assassinations. END SUMMARY.

--------------
The Unkindest Cut of All
--------------


2. (C) On April 2, Poloff met with ECOWAS Director of
Political Affairs Dr. Abdel Fatah-Musa to discuss events in
Guinea-Bissau and ECOWAS' plans to stabilize the country.
(FYI: Fatah-Musa has been a regular visitor to Bissau over
many years as part of numerous ECOWAS delegations, and has
been extensively involved in formulating and implementing
ECOWAS' response to the crisis, precipitated by the March
1-2, 2009, assassinations of Armed Forces Chief of Staff
General Baptista Tagme Na Wai and President Joao Bernardo
Vieira. End FYI.) Describing years of tension between the
two men which stretch back to the 1980s, he said that when
Vieira captured Na Wai during the 1998 civil war, Na Wai was
castrated under Vieira's direct supervision. Fatah-Musa said
that Na Wai's men allegedly returned the favor after
murdering Vieira in front of his wife -- not decapitating him
as widely reported but instead removing his genitals in order
to make a statement. (Comment: This contradicts what GON
FonMin reported to Ambassador on March 8. FonMin said
Vieira's wife told him when he was in Guinea Bissau that she
was sent for safety to the Angolan Embassy just prior to
Vieira's killing (reftel). However, we note that what
Fatah-Musa told us is indicative (whether it is true or not)
of the level of animosity between Vieira and Na Wai. End
Comment.) When Vieira returned to power via the 2005
elections, however, Na Wai's appointment as Chief of Staff
was an unavoidable reality, as he was a senior member of
Guinea-Bissau's single largest tribe, the Balantes, which are
heavily overrepresented in the military. Fatah-Musa
described the bomb blast that killed Na Wai as a
"narco-style" assassination method previously unknown in
Guinea-Bissau but favored by drug traffickers, lending
evidence to the depth of Vieira's involvement with them.

ABUJA 00000590 002.2 OF 003


(Note: In GON FonMin conversation with the Ambassador on
March 8, the FonMin said he believed that narco-traffickers
were involved in both assassinations. End note.)

--------------
Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way
--------------


3. (C) Fatah-Musa described ECOWAS' effort to mount a robust
response to the crisis, but complained that it was being
frustrated by Portuguese obstructionism. After ECOWAS agreed
with Portuguese Foreign Minister Luis Amado to convene an
international contact group (ICG) meeting "as soon as
possible" after the assassinations, he said that ECOWAS
President Mohamed Ibn Chambas received a call from a "junior
officer" of the Portuguese Foreign Ministry who said that
Amado's busy schedule precluded his attendance at any meeting
in the coming weeks. Undaunted, Chambas attempted to convene
a March 20 ICG meeting without Amado's participation, but in
the end was forced to scuttle it after the Portuguese Foreign
Ministry told other potential group members that it was "not
safe" to meet in Bissau. Fatah-Musa said Chambas wants the
Portuguese to be edged out of the process, and wants instead
to copy the steps taken in Guinea, giving ECOWAS and the
African Union leading roles in resolving the crisis. He
believed looking to Portugal to take the lead in
Guinea-Bissau, as the US has done in Liberia and the UK has
done in Sierra Leone, was a waste of time. Fatah-Musa also
said that the UN had been discredited in the eyes of
Guinea-Bissau's stakeholders, having ignored a request from
Vieira after the November 2008 assassination attempt for
international intervention to help stabilize the country and
protect him. (Note: Per reftel, Vieira also requested help
from Nigeria. End Note.) Fatah-Musa also commented that he
believed that Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon was insulated
from reality by his "Asian cronies," and as a result Africa
was slipping downward on the UN's agenda.

--------------
What Next
--------------


4. (C) Fatah-Musa said that ECOWAS' goals in the coming
months include partnering with the AU and UN to launch a full
investigation of the events of the past months, to push for
the punishment of the perpetrators of crime and mayhem, and
to take steps to rein in the unchecked influence of
narcotraffickers. ECOWAS flatly rejects the approach by
Portugal, which is to promote national reconciliation via a
sort of amnesty that ignores the egregious wrongs of the past
and present. Guinea and Cape Verde will join Guinea-Bissau
as the objects of ECOWAS' first attempts to implement its
anti-narcotics plan, agreed upon in an October 2008 summit in
Praia. Fatah-Musa affirmed that elections most likely would
take place on June 28, as reported in the press, and that
ECOWAS was satisfied with this timetable. He predicts that
Prime Minister Carlos Gomes will easily win the poll, being a
popular man in a field lacking viable candidates. He said
that of the $5 million needed to run fair and credible
elections, only $900,000 has so far been pledged by the
international community, but that does not include $500,000
to come from ECOWAS' budget and a number of likely pledges by
European countries.

--------------
Tearing out the Rotten Plant
--------------


5. (C) SSR is Guinea-Bissau's biggest immediate need,

ABUJA 00000590 003.2 OF 003


Fatah-Musa said, as the present military was thoroughly
rotten and needs to be torn out, "root and branch." ECOWAS
envisions an international deployment of soldiers and/or
police that can maintain stability while the dicey work of
stepping up new security forces continues. Some of the
military will need to be bought off, and others sent out of
the country, and the inverted pyramid ratio of officers to
men will need to be "right-sized." He says he believes there
should be a force of around 2000, but could offer few
details; the modalities, he said, would be worked out at an
April 20 meeting in Praia, to which the US would soon be
invited to send representation. A few things were clear
however: of the countries reportedly considering sending
troops (including West African neighbors, as well as Cuba,
Brazil, and Angola), he believed some would not/not be
welcome, particularly Senegal and Gambia, due to their
governments' past meddling.

--------------
The USG's Role
--------------


6. (C) Fatah-Musa says ECOWAS hopes the USG will attend the
April 20 conference as an observer, but also encourage that
ECOWAS and the AU take the lead in finding a solution, rather
than Portugal. He also hopes that we will work to draw in
the Spanish, who have shown a burgeoning interest in
Guinea-Bissau due to the increasing amounts of illegal
narcotics and illegal immigrants arriving on their shores
from Bissau. More importantly, he said ECOWAS is hoping for
a USG role in the form of a significant contribution in
support of the deployed ECOWAS-hoped for international force
that will keep the lid on the chaos that could flourish
during the SSR process outlined above -- such a contribution
would preferably take the form of funding, but could also be
in the forms of equipment and expertise, he said. Poloff
said he would pass along Fatah-Musa's views to Washington.


7. (C) COMMENT: Poloff was stricly in a listening mode with
Fatah-Musa. However, ECOWAS' handling of the latest West
African crises shows an organization that is continually
trying to mature. ECOWAS had a high-level delegation on the
ground in Bissau on March 3 (reftel), just after the
assassinations, which included Nigerian Foreign Minister Ojo
Maduekwe, Dr. Chambas, and Senegalese Foreign Minister Cheikh
Gadio. Coordination with international partners thus far has
been assertive and largely productive. Fatah-Musa, a
Ghanaian, is also someone to watch. He commands an
intuitive, excellent grasp of regional politics, has an
impressive resume, good contacts, and seems to entertain
thoughts of political office in Ghana some day. He said that
had the recent election in Ghana not been handled in the way
that it had, Dr. Chambas was considering returning to Ghana
to run for the Presidency in the next election; Fatah-Musa's
confident assertion to Poloff that he himself "could be a
household name" in Ghana with little effort thinly masks his
own ambitions or overconfidence. END COMMENT.


8. (U) This cable was coordinated with Consulate Lagos.
SANDERS