US embassy cable - 04ABUJA506

NIGERIA OFFERS ARISTIDE A "STAGING POST" FOR A FEW WEEKS

Identifier: 04ABUJA506
Wikileaks: View 04ABUJA506 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Abuja
Created: 2004-03-23 14:11:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Tags: PREL HA NI
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS ABUJA 000506 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL, HA, NI 
SUBJECT: NIGERIA OFFERS ARISTIDE A "STAGING POST" FOR A FEW 
WEEKS 
 
 
SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED, NOT FOR PUBLICATION ON THE 
INTERNET OR INTRANET. 
 
1. (SBU) In response to what it said was a request from the 
Caribbean Economic Community (CARICOM), on March 22 the GON 
offered Haitian ex-president Aristide refuge in Nigeria for a 
few weeks before moving on to another destination.  President 
Obasanjo's press spokesman, Oluremi ("Remi") Oyo, issued a 
press release (text below) to that effect and said much the 
same thing in interviews carried by BBC radio and other 
outlets. 
 
2. (SBU) The press release says the GON agreed after 
consultations with African leaders, the African Union 
leadership, the USG and "other concerned authorities."  Staff 
at the Foreign Ministry and at the office of the National 
Security Advisor told us March 23 they learned of the offer 
from the press, and know nothing about such consultations. 
The Presidency told us Aristide has not yet responded to the 
offer (as of noon March 23), and said it had no information 
on the USG and other consultations mentioned in the press 
release. 
 
3. (SBU) COMMENT:  Two items seem important:  Will Aristide 
come, and if so under what terms?  Confusion over what was 
agreed when Charles Taylor came to Nigeria has long been a 
problem.  Taylor is not the only political exile in Nigeria, 
which has a history of offering asylum to fleeing leaders. 
Post requests guidance from the Department on discussing 
Aristide with the GON, and talking points for the public on 
whatever USG role there may or may not have been in the 
Nigerian offer to Aristide. 
 
4. (U) Begin text of the Nigerian Presidency press release: 
 
NIGERIA GRANTS CARICOM REQUEST ON FORMER HAITIAN LEADER 
 
The Caribbean Economic Community (CARICOM) under the 
leadership of Prime Minister P.J. Patterson of Jamaica, has 
requested Nigeria to consider giving former President 
Jean-Bertrand Aristide of Haiti "a staging post" for a few 
weeks until his movement to another destination. 
 
After receiving the CARICOM request, Nigeria undertook 
widespread consultations with African leaders, the leadership 
of the African Union, the U.S. Government and other concerned 
authorities. 
 
Following the concurrence received after those consultations, 
Nigeria has agreed to grant the request from CARICOM. 
 
Oluremi Oyo (Mrs.) 
SSA to the President 
 
end text. 
ROBERTS 

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