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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
10ABUJA213 2010-02-26 14:04:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Abuja
Cable title:  

NIGERIA: GOLDSTONE FOLLOW UP AND HUMAN RIGHTS PRIORITIES

Tags:   PHUM PGOV PINR PREL SOCI UNGA NI 
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ABUJA 000213 

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STATE FOR AF/FO, AF/W, AF/RSA, AF/PDPA, DRL, INR/AA
AMEMBASSY YAOUNDE PASS TO AMEMBASSY MALABO

E.O. 12958: DECL: 2020/01/26
TAGS: PHUM PGOV PINR PREL SOCI UNGA NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: GOLDSTONE FOLLOW UP AND HUMAN RIGHTS PRIORITIES

REF: STATE 15722; STATE 16234; ABUJA 0211 AND PREVIOUS

CLASSIFIED BY: James P. McAnulty, Political Counselor, U.S. Embassy
Abuja, Political Section; REASON: 1.4(B), (D)

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SUMMARY

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1. (C) PolOffs delivered demarches (refs a and b) to Foreign
Ministry International Organizations Director Ambassador M.K.
Ibrahim February 24. Ibrahim accepted U.S. points on the upcoming
vote in New York, but told us he could "not see a way to change
Nigeria's vote on Goldstone." Due to the importance Nigeria places
on the bilateral relationship with the U.S., however, we could
witness an abstention. END SUMMARY.





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PERCEPTION IS KEY



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2. (C) Given that Nigeria chaired the Human Rights Council (HRC)
session when the Goldstone vote occurred, Ibrahim focused his
response on the appearance of Nigeria reversing its vote
completely, rather than on the merits of the U.S. argument. He
told PolOffs that he had heard all sides of the issue, including
during two meetings with Israeli Ambassador to Nigeria Moshe Ram
here in Abuja, but concluded that "it would look odd and be very
difficult to reverse it at this stage."





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ABSTENTION NOT DISCOUNTED



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3. (C) Ibrahim became less certain when PolOff reiterated U.S.
points, replying that "I wished this had been solved earlier, as
each incremental stage makes it harder for us." Ibrahim added that
he felt the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) could have been
avoided altogether. While informing us that he could not consider
switching Nigeria's vote to agree with the U.S., he reluctantly
admitted that "the best we could do is an abstention on the issue."
He volunteered that he could not ask another nation to change its
vote.





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U.S. DOUBLE STANDARD



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4. (C) Ibrahim frankly told PolOff that our argument about keeping
human rights issues solely within the HRC in Geneva did not "hold
water" when it came to our human rights discussion on Iran. While
he did not blatantly state so, Ibrahim implied that the U.S. has a
double standard in raising Iran at the UNGA, but keeping Palestine
and Goldstone at the HRC in Geneva.

ABUJA 00000213 002 OF 002




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HRC PRIORITIES



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5. (SBU) Ibrahim also reviewed points on U.S. priorities for the
HRC session, but offered no immediate, substantive response. He
will travel to Geneva March 3 to be part of Nigeria's Delegation.
He also confirmed Nigeria's just-returned Ambassador to Switzerland
and the HRC has assumed duties as the MFA's Permanent Secretary.
Ibrahim agreed with his colleagues on the Americas Desk that human
rights issues would take on greater importance under the leadership
of new Permanent Secretary Ambassador Dr. Martin Ihoeghian
Uhomoibhi.





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COMMENT



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6. (C) Following our exchange with Ambassador Ibrahim, Nigeria
appears more concerned about the appearance of fickleness -- having
chaired the HRC Session that voted to advance the Goldstone report
to the UNGA. That said, the GON considers our bilateral
relationship as vitally important and may end up abstaining on
Friday's draft resolution. Our interlocutors throughout the MFA
have advised us that Ambassador Ibrahim provides voting
instructions to the Nigerian Mission in New York. With no clear
authority in the Presidential Villa at the moment (ref c),
Ibrahim's instructions will not likely be overruled from Nigeria's
executive, as witnessed in the past. END COMMENT.
SANDERS