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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
09NIAMEY1005 2009-12-22 08:10:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Niamey
Cable title:  

Niger: ECOWAS MEDIATOR AND GON PRIME MINISTER OPEN THE

Tags:   PGOV PREL KDEM SOCI PHUM NG XY 
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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM SOCI PHUM NG XY
SUBJECT: Niger: ECOWAS MEDIATOR AND GON PRIME MINISTER OPEN THE
INTER-NIGERIEN POLITICAL DIALOGUE

Ref: a) Niamey 1004 b) Niamey 928



1. Summary: On December 21, Economic Community of West African
States (ECOWAS) Mediator, Abdulsalami Abubakar, and Government of
Niger (GON) Prime Minister (PM) Ali Badjo Gamatie, co-presided over
the opening ceremony of the Inter-Nigerien Political Dialogue
(INPD). The aim of the INPD is to arrive at a peaceful resolution
to the current political crisis in the Republic of Niger (RON). GON
officials, diplomatic corps ( including the ambassadors of Algeria,
United States, France, China, Nigeria, European Union),
international institution senior representatives (e.g., UNOWA,
UNDP), religious leaders (Muslim and Christian), union and civil
society leaders, and traditional leaders attended the ceremony.
Print, radio and television media provided extensive coverage. The
four opening ceremony speakers were PM Gamatie, Coordination des
Forces pour la Democratie et la Republique (CFDR)/Opposition leader
Amadou Boubacar Cisse, Mouvement Populaire de la Refondations de la
Republique (MPRR)/GON Head of Delegation Seini Oumarou (Note: former
PM/current National Assembly President under the Sixth Republic.
End note.) and ECOWAS Mediator Abdulsalami Abubakar. The Opposition
decision to go along with the much disputed GON demand that
negotiations be held in Niamey (in lieu of Abuja) removed a major
block to the launch of what Nigeriens hope will develop into
fruitful negotiations. End summary.



2. PM Gamatie launched the hour-long INPD opening ceremony with
remarks that there is "no divergence between the Opposition and GON
on the need for a dialogue to consolidate institutions that meet the
desires of the Nigerien people." He thanked Mediator Abubakar for
accepting the mission he hopes will secure a "consensual agreement
and credible reconciliation" sought by the Nigerien people.



3. CFDR/Opposition leader Cisse also thanked the ECOWAS Mediator
for his "engagement in initiatives to promote dialogue among
Nigeriens." Cisse noted that Nigeriens have followed for the last
several months the efforts of international institutions and
development partners to find a resolution to Niger's political
crisis. He opined that for close to ten years the RON had exercised
the normal functions of a democracy, held free and fair elections
and maintained a respect for rule of law and state institutions,
such as the Constitutional Court. He lamented that the GON had not
followed the good models of Cape Verde and Ghana of peaceful
transition but, instead followed the poor examples of Sudan and
Zimbabwe that hindered alternance. He added that "the world has
been following the events in the RON, from the "widely-opposed
referendum to the recently disputed national assembly elections."
He closed with the hope that the RON would again "find itself among
the family of democratic nations."



4. GON negotiator Oumarou spoke of the composition of the MPRR
coalition and also thanked the Mediator and his team for taking on
the mission it had been assigned. He stressed that "every nation
must adopt democracy to suit its own local conditions" and stated
"that is the reason democracy in the United States differs from that
in France, that of Brazil from that in Japan, that in Senegal from
that of Pakistan." He added that each nation has its inalienable
rights to choose the governance its wants and insisted that the
Nigerien people had determined its own future through a referendum.
He closed his remarks noting his delegation is ready for an open,
frank discussion, and emphasized that Nigeriens watching and
listening to the dialogue are counting on the negotiators to
succeed.



5. ECOWAS Mediator Abubakar highlighted the historic act the
negotiations represented for the RON. He reminded attendees that he
had consulted with the various stakeholders over several weeks and
expressed gratitude that the GON and Opposition have indicated
willingness to hold a dialogue that is vital for both RON and the
region. He stressed that no dialogue can be held in a vacuum and
implored the negotiating parties to look for a peaceful, successful
end to the crisis. He thanked the stakeholders and international
community for its contributions during the consultation period. He
asked the negotiating parties to be poised to make concessions and
seek areas of agreement; to use frankness and honesty during the
negotiations in order to reach an end beneficial to the Nigerien
people. He closed by stating that the world is waiting for an
outcome typical of the cohesion for which Nigeriens are known.



6. The room was then emptied with a request that the negotiators,
Mediation team and members of the diplomatic corps assemble to take
a group photo, but the Opposition members declined the offer and

NIAMEY 00001005 002 OF 002


responded that they would wait until the end of negotiations.
Consequently, one photo for local media was taken without Opposition
representation. After the photo, the diplomatic corps and other
observers left the venue and the negotiating teams proceeded to meet
behind closed doors. (Note: Notable Opposition leaders absent from
the proceedings included former PM Hama Amadou, former National
Assembly President Mahamane Ousmane and CFDR coalition/PNDS Party
leader Mahamadou Issoufou. End note.)

ALLEN