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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
10PARIS69
2010-01-22 16:53:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Paris
Cable title:  

MFA OFFICIALS PROVIDE OVERVIEW OF CURRENT AFRICAN

Tags:   PREL  PGOV  PINR  PTER  KDEM  XA  FR 
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VZCZCXRO5532
PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN RUEHTRO
DE RUEHFR #0069/01 0221653
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 221653Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY PARIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8096
INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 2164
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 1354
RUEHKL/AMEMBASSY KUALA LUMPUR PRIORITY 0287
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW PRIORITY 6551
RHMFISS/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE PRIORITY
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 PARIS 000069 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/22/2020
TAGS: PREL PGOV PINR PTER KDEM XA FR
SUBJECT: MFA OFFICIALS PROVIDE OVERVIEW OF CURRENT AFRICAN
ISSUES

REF: A. PARIS 66

B. JANUARY 21 PARIS POINTS

Classified By: Kathleen Allegrone, Political Minister-Counselor, 1.4 (b
/d).



1. (C) SUMMARY: MFA AF A/S Stephane Gompertz and FM
Kouchner's Cabinet AF Advisor Charlotte Montel briefed on a
range of African issues in separate January 20 meetings.
Both were pleased with recent events in Guinea (the
non-return of Dadis and other elements of the Ouagadougou
Accord) but cautioned that the way forward remained
complicated with potential for trouble at many points. On
Sudan, Gompertz expressed concern about the North-South
problem, focusing on the need to resolve oil issues. On the
May 2010 France-Africa Summit, the problem over inviting
Sudan's Bashir no longer existed and Gompertz planned to
suggest inviting Zimbabwe's Mugabe and Tsvangirai and Kenya's
Kibaki and Odinga, to address other potentially difficult
"invitation" problems. On Cote d'Ivoire, Gompertz thought
that elections could take place in March or April; he
predicted a Gbagbo victory. Gompertz hoped that MONUC would
continue in some form despite Kabila's desire that it leave.
Montel said that expressing support for a continued MONUC
presence was FM Kouchner's main priority during his recent
visit to the DRC. Kouchner received a warm welcome in Kigali
prior to his visit to the DRC; his purpose in Rwanda was to
reinforce France's commitment to the recently renewed
diplomatic relations between the two sides. His talks in ROC
centered on the problem of DRC refugees in the ROC, which ROC
President Sassou Nguesso did not want to become a permanent
problem. On the Sahel, Gompertz discussed the AQIM problem
and the difficulty of bringing prosperity to the northern
Sahel without also increasing the number of potential AQIM
targets. END SUMMARY.



2. (C) MFA AF A/S-equivalent Stephane Gompertz met with
POL/MC and Africa Assistant to discuss a range of issues on
January 20. Discussion of Madagascar is reported ref A. Ref
B reports President Sarkozy's decision not to attend the
upcoming African Union summit (concern over Qadhafi's
presence and his attempt to gain a second term as AU
president). Later on January 20, FM Kouchner's cabinet
Africa Advisor, Charlotte Montel, briefed Africa Assistant on
Kouchner's January 7-10 visit to Rwanda, DRC, ROC, and
Burkina Faso, a trip in which Montel participated. We
intersperse Montel's comments with those of Gompertz as
appropriate.

Guinea


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




3. (C) Gompertz expressed relief that Guinea was finally
moving in a more positive direction, with the decision
brokered in Ouagadougou for Dadis to remain out of Guinea and
for de facto leader Konate to steer Guinea towards free and
fair elections. Gompertz said that a relatively long period
of nervous uncertainty had come to an end, and he praised

efforts by Morocco and Burkina Faso President Compaore,
although he said it was still not clear the degree to which
Morocco and Burkina Faso had pre-cooked events prior to
Dadis's departure from Morocco. Gompertz also said that
Liberian President Sirleaf and UNOWA chief Said Djinnit had
apparently played positive behind-the-scenes roles to help
broker the deal that eventually emerged. Gompertz said that
the choice of Dore as Prime Minister was a good one, as his
Forestier ethnic roots could placate Dadis' supporters,
particularly among the Forestiers. The other Forces Vives
candidate, union leader Diallo, was an ethnic Peul, and
naming her as Prime Minister, Gompertz believed, would have
exacerbated rather than eased ethnic tensions.



4. (C) Gompertz acknowledged that although the major hurdle
of keeping Dadis out of Guinea had been overcome, problems
remained, including the reaction of Dadis' supporters and
allies in Guinea. Gompertz said that many of them would try
to cling to the privileges they had obtained when Dadis was
in charge. Some also thought they would likely be better
protected from the ICC were Dadis still in charge.
Kouchner's advisor Montel, while quite pleased with the
overall results of the Ouagadougou talks, expressed more
pessimism than had Gompertz, underlining the many unresolved
tensions in Guinea. She noted the divisions within the
Forces Vives, popular mistrust of anyone from the political
class, generational differences, and ethnic friction, all of
which, in her view, created the potential for trouble even if
Dadis were personally no longer in the picture. Questions

PARIS 00000069 002 OF 004


remained about Konate and the CNDD and the broader reaction
to the Ouagadougou agreement.



5. (C) Montel said that Kouchner's visit to Burkina Faso,
at the end of his tour through Rwanda, DRC, and ROC, was
focused solely on Guinea. The visit took place before the
eventual agreement, so Montel did not spend much time on it,
other than to say that Kouchner's Burkinabe interlocutors
were fully engaged and said they would do their best to
facilitate a positive outcome.

Sudan


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





6. (C) While welcoming recent signs of significant
improvement in Chad-Sudan relations (which he hoped would,
for once, hold), Gompertz expressed concern about North-South
relations and the need to resolve oil-related issues in order
to remove a bone of contention threatening an already fragile
relationship. Gompertz in fact said that the oil issue was
the key to peace between North and South. Gompertz looked
forward to meeting with General Gration (and other USG
officials) at the upcoming African Union Summit, but he
regretted the apparent absence of Russia and China from the
summit. Gompertz said that France was trying to engage
China, India, and Malaysia -- particularly China -- as the
largest consumer of Sudan's oil, into playing a more active
role in resolving the North-South oil issue as it would be in
their best interests to help find a peaceful solution.



7. (C) Concerning the vote to split North and South into
two independent countries, Gompertz said that if that were to
happen, "so be it," suggesting that we would have to make the
most of what could be a very difficult situation. He said
that should a split occur, the two sides would have to
resolve very quickly, if not in advance, issues such as
defining the border, apportioning Sudan's debts, resolving
central bank issues, agreeing on what to do about the army
and parastatals, and, of course, agreeing on the oil issue.
Gompertz did not think that the South would be able to
finance an oil pipeline to Kenya and would be obliged to work
with the North in order to exploit whatever share of the oil
resources it ended up with.

France-Africa


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





8. (C) After mentioning Sarkozy's decision not to attend
the upcoming AU Summit (ref B), Gompertz said that France was
beginning the painful nuts-and-bolts work involved in setting
up the May France-Africa Summit, which had been transferred
from Egypt because of the issue of inviting Sudan's President
Bashir. That would no longer be an issue but other
"invitational" issues remained: Guinea, Cote d'Ivoire,
Madagascar, Zimbabwe, and Kenya. Hopefully, problems in
Guinea, Cote d'Ivoire, and Madagascar would be resolved or
closer to resolution by then. On Zimbabwe and Kenya,
Gompertz said he was going to propose that Zimbabwe's Mugabe
and Tsvangirai and Kenya's Kibaki and Odinga all be invited,
in both cases so that the one with the favorable image
perceived "good guy" would dilute the presence of the
perceived "bad guy." He thought this could be a way to treat
this sensitive issue although he repeated that this was not
yet GOF policy on how to proceed. He noted that there was
always the welcome possibility that Mugabe, for example,
would decline an invitation. As an aside, he noted that
former Presidential Africa Advisor Romain Serman was working
on the summit and was already deeply immersed in finding a
suitable venue and working out the many other details the
summit would involve.

Cote d'Ivoire


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





9. (C) Gompertz, who for a long stretch was one of the few
GOF officials convinced elections in Cote d'Ivoire would take
place in November 2009 as once scheduled, said that elections
now appeared possible in the March/April period. He
expressed frustration that yet another issue had emerged (the
voter list controversy) that might again delay the vote. In
any case, he thought that Gbagbo would win and that the other
candidates were too weak.



10. (C) Kouchner's advisor Montel denied press speculation
that Kouchner had canceled a trip to the Cote d'Ivoire
because, supposedly, he was being edged out by Presidential

PARIS 00000069 003 OF 004


Chief of Staff Claude Gueant. Montel said this was not the
case, that, as the MFA had publicly stated, Kouchner canceled
his trip because of the current controversy over the voter
list and not because of any intra-GOF in-fighting. Montel
pointedly noted that Gueant decided not to visit the Cote
d'Ivoire in keeping with a government-wide decision not to
send senior envoys so long as the voter list issue remained
an obstacle to elections.

DRC
---



11. (C) Both Gompertz and Montel commented on the MONUC
problem in DRC and the need to work carefully with President
Kabila to ensure a continuing MONUC presence. They noted
that the international community had already met Kabila
halfway by agreeing to a five-month mandate and they agreed
that it would be important that MONUC, although perhaps in a
revised form, obtain a new mandate after the expiration of
the present one. Montel said that MONUC was really the only
subject Kouchner addressed during his visit to DRC after his
stop in Kigali. Gompertz mused about the possibility of
somehow tinkering with MONUC's budget so that more of its
financing came from assessed contributions rather than
voluntary contributions. He noted that the budget aspects of
MONUC had long been a headache for French officials charged
with budget discipline. Montel commented that MONUC's
presence in 2011 would certainly contribute to a more
peaceful environment in which to hold elections scheduled for
that year.

Rwanda


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





12. (C) Montel said that the visit to Kigali was the focal
point of Kouchner's trip to Africa, the purpose being to
reinforce from the French side France's commitment to the
recently restored diplomatic relations between France and
Rwanda. Montel said that Kouchner received a warm and
sincerely expressed welcome in Kigali and she believed that,
while continuing to harbor some suspicions about France, the
Rwandans wanted to move forward, reflected in the many
courtesies Kouchner and his party received. Montel said that
France's new ambassador, Laurent Contini (also a former
Kouchner cabinet advisor), was in place and presented his
credentials this week.



13. (C) Montel said that relations resumed even though the
Rwandans understood that the warrants issued by then-judge
Bruguiere in 2006, which caused the rupture, were still in
place. But they were somewhat relieved when Rose Kabuye's
judicial examination ended and she was released. This showed
a better Rwandan understanding of French judicial
independence and perhaps Rwandan confidence that French
courts were not "out to get" those named in Bruguiere's
report.



14. (C) The Rwandans may have also heeded one bit of advice
the French had been offering since Sarkozy came into office,
Montel said. The French had been telling Rwanda that with
Kouchner -- a legend in the NGO and humanitarian relief world
-- as Foreign Minister, and with Sarkozy -- who had pledged
that France would no longer be a prisoner of its colonial
past and who himself was not implicated in "France-Afrique"
as had been his predecessors -- as President, Rwanda would
never have leadership in France so sympathetic and willing to
take Rwandan views into account. Montel speculated that with
all the talk (albeit not necessarily true) about Kouchner's
reaching the final stages of his term in office, the Rwandans
might have decided that they should act now to normalize
rather than wait for a change in French leadership that might
be indifferent or even hostile to Rwanda's situation.

ROC
---



15. (C) Kouchner went to Brazzaville after DRC. Montel
said the visit was in the nature of a courtesy call inasmuch
as Kouchner had been several times to Rwanda and DRC as FM
but had not stopped in Brazzaville. His talks with President
Sassou Nguesso centered on the problem of DRC refugees who
had recently flooded into ROC. Montel said that Sassou
Nguesso's main point was that he did not want these refugees
to become a "permanent" fixture and he therefore opposed the
construction of what might be construed as permanent camps or
the establishment of a formal relief operation. Montel

PARIS 00000069 004 OF 004


indicated that Kouchner understood but reminded of the need
to give proper treatment to the refugees.

Sahel/AQIM


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





16. (C) Gompertz commented briefly on the security
situation in the Sahel and the continuing problem of
kidnappings. He lamented that efforts to improve the
northern regions of the Sahel, through projects to improve
tourism, were self-defeating because tourism, for example,
only provided more targets for the kidnapper. He said that
sending development experts to the region involved similar
concerns. He welcomed continued cooperation with the U.S. on
Sahel-related issues.

Benin


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





17. (C) In passing, Gompertz lauded Benin as a relative
success story but he said he was not involved in the visit to
Benin being planned for Carla Bruni, President Sarkozy's wife.



RIVKIN