US embassy cable - 01ABUJA959

Agreement on Strengthened Cease-fire in Sierra Leone

Identifier: 01ABUJA959
Wikileaks: View 01ABUJA959 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Abuja
Created: 2001-05-03 15:24:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PREL PINS NI ECOWAS
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.

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ABUJA 000959 
 
SIPDIS 
 
 
E.O. 12598: 5/3/11 
TAGS: PREL, PINS, NI, ECOWAS 
SUBJECT: Agreement on Strengthened Cease-fire in Sierra 
Leone 
 
CLASSIFIED BY AMBASSADOR HOWARD F. JETER, REASONS 1.5(B/D) 
 
 
1.  (SBU) Summary. On May 2 the ECOWAS Committee of Six, 
the UN, and the Sierra Leone Government reached a 
reaffirmation of the November 10, 2000 cease-fire agreement 
in Sierra Leone with RUF representatives lead by Omrie 
Golley.  According to sources at ECOWAS, The RUF committed 
itself to the dismantling of road blocks, a pull back from 
tense areas of the border with Guinea in the Kambia area, 
and the hand over of seized weapons, all by the end of May. 
The Committee of Six and the GOSL agreed to allow the RUF 
to conduct a regional fund-raising tour for political party 
organization, subject to "cooperative behavior" and the 
lifting of the UN travel ban.  The parties also re- 
committed themselves to the DDR process.  End summary. 
 
 
2.  (U) The ECOWAS Committee of Six (Ghana, Nigeria, 
Liberia, Mali, Togo, Guinea not present) together with 
representatives of the GOSL, the UN, and the ECOWAS 
secretariat, met with representatives of the RUF on May 2 
 
SIPDIS 
in Abuja.  After an approximately eight-hour session at the 
ECOWAS Secretariat, the parties agreed upon several 
concrete provisions to strengthen the November 10, 2000 
cease-fire.  The RUF agreed to the dismantling of 
roadblocks, a RUF pull back from tense border areas near 
Kambia, and a hand-over of seized weapons stocks, all by 
the end of May.  The parties recommitted themselves to the 
Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) 
program.  Troops pulled back from the Kambia area were to 
enter DDR camps.  An overall timetable for this would be 
determined at a meeting between the RUF and the GOSL in 
Freetown on May 15.  An "internal memorandum" has been 
signed in accordance with the agreements reached on May 2, 
but will not be distributed to the public.  ECOWAS 
personnel would not release this document to us or to other 
diplomatic personnel, but were willing to discuss its 
provisions, as noted above. 
 
 
3.  (C) The negotiations at ECOWAS by all accounts occurred 
in a "cordial" and productive atmosphere.  The RUF 
representatives, according to Colonel Dixon Dikio, ECOWAS 
military advisor, were "surprisingly conciliatory." 
Henrietta Didigu, staff attorney in the Office of the Legal 
Advisor at ECOWAS, who helped draft the new agreement, 
termed the RUF behavior a recognition that the May 2 ECOWAS 
talks were "the only game in town."  ECOWAS Director of 
Information Adrienne Diop noted that, "The RUF realizes the 
war could go on forever and they are tired of it; that 
makes them more reasonable."  Even the GOSL delegation 
expressed satisfaction with the talks, appearing relaxed 
and optimistic in the hallways of the ECOWAS secretariat at 
the end of the long evening. 
 
 
4.  (SBU) The RUF did raise some issues not strictly linked 
to the November 10, 2000 cease-fire agreement, including 
release of RUF prisoners, the presence of "foreign troops" 
on Sierra Leone soil (a reference to British training 
assistance to the GOSL armed forces) and their need to 
transform themselves into an active political party.  The 
Committee of Six and the GOSL reportedly agreed to a 
regional fund-raising trip by the RUF to fund political 
party organization, this contingent on RUF "cooperative 
behavior."  The GOSL would issue a public call for the 
lifting of the UN travel ban, should such "cooperative 
behavior" result, and work to remove "legal impediments" to 
the RUF registering as a political party. 
 
 
5.  (SBU) The cooperative atmosphere at the May 2 talks 
mirrored May 1 meetings convened by ECOWAS to prepare for 
the RUF sessions, in which the Committee of Six, the GOSL, 
the UN and ECOWAS staff participated.  Well aware that the 
RUF had not been in compliance with many provisions of the 
cease-fire, the parties sought ways to encourage RUF 
compliance and establish concrete time-frames, rather than 
simply document violations and accord responsibility. 
However, the unwillingness of ECOWAS to release the agreed- 
upon text signed late on the evening of May 2 may signal 
some sensitivity concerning lack of compliance with the 
original cease-fire agreement, or perhaps the existence of 
other agreement elements not disclosed by ECOWAS personnel 
in conversations with us. 
 
 
6.  (C) Comment.  The cease-fire in Sierra Leone does 
appear to be the only game in town.  Now we shall see if 
the rules of the game, as reconfigured by the original 
signatories to the November 10, 2000 agreement, will be 
obeyed by the RUF.  They have gained some further measure 
of recognition of their status as a negotiating partner of 
the GOSL, as sanctioned by ECOWAS and the UN in Abuja this 
week.  Whether the RUF can seize this latest opportunity to 
act as a real partner in securing the cease-fire, and move 
beyond it to constructing a lasting peace in Sierra Leone, 
should be revealed in the next few weeks.  Guinea's 
apparent absence was unfortunate but need not necessarily 
diminish significantly the week's accomplishments.  End 
comment. 
 
 
7.  (C)  In a May 3 meeting, NSA Aliyu Mohammed told 
Ambassador Jeter that President Obasanjo had had breakfast 
with RUF members and GOSL Ministers that morning.  The NSA 
added that the group would be returning to Freetown on May 
4, all on the same plane.  According to Mohammed, the RUF 
and GOSL Ministers had said that President Obasanjo "had a 
mandate" to mediate the conflict in Sierra Leone, that 
three-quarters of the conflict was solved, and that all 
that remained to be done was to demobilize and reintegrate 
combatants. 
JETER 

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