US embassy cable - 01ABUJA1587

NIGERIA: AMBASSADOR MEETS WITH NSA ON REGIONAL AND OTHER ISSUES

Identifier: 01ABUJA1587
Wikileaks: View 01ABUJA1587 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Abuja
Created: 2001-07-05 15:37:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PREL PGOV MASS MARR KCRM SNAR ETRD 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.

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 ABUJA 001587 
 
SIPDIS 
 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/02/2011 
TAGS: PREL, PGOV, MASS, MARR, KCRM, SNAR, ETRD, NI 
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: AMBASSADOR MEETS WITH NSA ON REGIONAL AND 
OTHER ISSUES 
 
Classified by Ambassador Howard F. Jeter, reason 1.5(B/D) 
 
 
1.  (C)  Ambassador Jeter met July 2 with National Security 
Advisor (NSA) Aliyu Mohammed.  Regional issues dominated 
discussions.  The NSA noted GON support for "internal 
dialogue" outside Liberia.  He indicated the GON would host 
an Abuja-based John Garang/Sadiq Al-Mahdi meeting on Sudan, 
and voiced support for an expanded UN presence in DROC.  The 
NSA said Jonas Savimbi had requested a meeting with Obasanjo, 
but the GON wished to speak to Angolan President Dos Santos 
first.  He indicated GON support for Namibian Foreign 
Minister Gurirab for the OAU SecGen position, and said that 
the Western Sahara did have a full-fledged Embassy in Abuja. 
Regarding bilateral mil-mil assistance, the NSA said that all 
OFR trucks had now been accounted for, including the two that 
had gone missing, and would be shipped to Sierra Leone for 
use by the Nigerian UNAMSIL contingent.  He pledged to solve 
the problem of lack of counterparts for MPRI after the 
Ambassador indicated the program appeared to be failing. 
Mohammed also asked for another complete set of requirements 
for the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) assessment, said 
the GON would work hard to combat trafficking in women and 
children, indicated renewed efforts to ensure a larger budget 
for NDLEA, and said Obasanjo would convene a meeting of Niger 
Delta leaders with oil companies, NGOs, and community 
stake-holders to once again explore the prospects for peace 
and development.  Embassy asked that the Embassy also be 
invited to this meeeting.  End summary. 
 
 
2.  (U)  Ambassador Jeter met July 2 with the NSA, General 
(ret.) Aliyu Mohammed, in Abuja.  Also in attendance were 
Regional Affairs Counselor Twombley paying his farewell call, 
and Poloff.  Mohammed's Assistant, Colonel Idris was also 
present as notetaker.  This meeting was designed, inter alia, 
as a follow-up on regional issues raised by President 
Obasanjo during his May visit to Washington. 
 
 
3.  (C) On Sierra Leone, the NSA optimistically assessed the 
disarmament process, although he expressed concern, with the 
rainy season underway, of possible weather delays.  Unaware 
that Ambassador William Swing's name had surfaced regarding 
the UN SRSG position in Sierra Leone, the NSA said that the 
GON would probably prefer that Ambassador Adeniji continue in 
that position, but he would "check on that."  Ambassador told 
the NSA that from the indirect reading he had gotten from 
President Obasanjo during an earlier inquiry, the issue 
seemed to be closed and we were not asking that it be 
revisited.  Ambassador Jeter said that he was simply 
informing the NSA so that he would be aware. 
 
 
4.  (C)  On the subject of "internal dialogue" in Liberia, 
Ambassador Jeter reprised his discussion with ECOWAS ExecSec 
Kouyate and gave his view that any attempt to include Taylor 
or conduct the dialogue within Liberia would risk both 
legitimizing Taylor and embittering Conte of Guinea.  It had 
to be done outside Liberia.  The NSA, although humorously 
paraphrasing a local proverb, "You can't shave a head if the 
head (Taylor's) isn't there," said that the GON would be 
willing to host such a "dialogue," or support it logistically 
at some other forum outside Liberia, if the U.S. thought this 
would be worthwhile.  Ambassador said that this was not a 
U.S. issue, and it was really up to the region to decide how 
to proceed.  Kouyate still seemed very interested in the 
idea, Ambassador said.  "I will contact President Konare of 
Mali," the NSA replied, "and Executive Secretary Kouyate on 
this." 
 
 
5. (C) On Sudan, Mohammed said that the GON would soon host a 
meeting between John Garang and Sadiq al-Mahdi, and that 
al-Mahdi was already in the country.   Obasanjo would also 
raise the issue at the upcoming OAU summit in Lusaka. 
Mohammed said that the general perception within the GON was 
that Garang was the problem.  Ambassador Jeter responded that 
the USG was reviewing its Sudan policy, particularly 
regarding Sudan's support for terrorism, its interference 
with humanitarian operations, and the likely prospect of a 
viable peace process.   Past bombings of humanitarian workers 
had provoked widespread anger within the USG, the Ambassador 
said.  The NSA said the GON had asked Sudan to halt the 
bombing, and thought that it had, but Jeter said it was not 
so clear that Sudan was complying with this request, beyond a 
brief pause.  Ambassador said that we would seek up-to-date 
information from the department on current humanitarian 
operations. 
 
 
6.  (C) On the DROC, Mohammed expressed general satisfaction 
with Kabila the Younger during his short reign as President. 
The country faced an enormous number of problems, not the 
least being the continuing presence of elements of nine 
foreign armies on her soil, he said.  But Kabila was 
performing well.  Nigeria had 33 police trainers in Kinshasa, 
and looked for other ways to assist, he said.  The clear 
solution, he noted, was greater UN involvement, together with 
useful interventions by outside parties. 
 
 
7.  (C)  On Angola, the NSA said that Savimbi had asked for a 
meeting with Obasanjo, but he had been told to "stand by." 
The GON meant to check with President Dos Santos before 
taking any action on Savimbi's request, said Mohammed. 
Obasanjo hoped to confer with Dos Santos at the OAU summit in 
Lusaka.  Moving briefly to the race for the Secretary General 
of the OAU, Mohammed said that the GON supported Namibian 
Foreign Minister Gurirab.  An earlier deal involving SADC 
support for Konare of Mali had fallen through when Konare 
withdrew, and now the GON felt obligated to support Gurirab, 
particularly given the request of President Mbeki of South 
Africa to do so. 
 
 
8.  (C) On Western Sahara, Mohammed acknowledged that the GON 
had opened official relations with the Sharawi Republic, but 
he was not sure at what level. (Note: the Moroccan Embassy 
tells us that the Sahrawi Embassy is represented by an 
Ambassador, and that the Sahrawi Mission enjoys the normal 
range of diplomatic contacts with the GON.  End Note).  The 
NSA went on to say that the GON supported the Baker UN 
initiative, hoped it would continue, and hoped the Bush 
Administration would support it, too. 
 
 
9.  (C) On bilateral mil/mil assistance, the Ambassador said 
that matters were proceeding "much better" on various fronts. 
 The DATT enjoyed a much better relationship with his 
counterparts.  The three bases had been identified for OFR 
III, and work would begin soon to ready them for OFR 
training.  The Ambassador noted that, on the subject of 
trucks for OFR III, unless the trucks now in Nigeria from OFR 
I were sent to Sierra Leone, we would be unable to provide 
trucks for OFR III. 
 
 
10.  (C) Idris responded that all were now accounted for, and 
would be shipped.  The NSA pledged to speak to the Chief of 
Army Staff on this issue.  On the question of the Forward 
Operating Base (FOB) for OFR III, the USG preferred to use 
Abuja, but had not seen any progress on this decision.  The 
NSA recommended that the Ambassador speak to Minister of 
Defense Danjuma about the FOB. (Comment.  We have done so, 
and hope we have a decision from Danjuma before he leaves for 
foreign travel later today, July 5.  End comment.) 
 
 
11.  (C) On MPRI, the Ambassador said that the program risked 
being a failure without proper counterparts for the MPRI 
personnel.  Mohammed said that "we are working on this," 
including the provision of retired officers as counterparts. 
"We will make this work," he said.  Regarding the request 
from the National Assembly that MPRI open an office at the 
Assembly building, the NSA requested that, although it was an 
idea with merit, "this should not be done now." 
 
 
12.  (C) The conversation finished with several bilateral 
issues, tracking the Ambassador's earlier conversation with 
the President. The NSA asked for a new complete set of the 
requirements for compliance with the Financial Action Task 
Force (septel).  He expressed surprise at the lack of proper 
information, and said he would meet with Finance Minister 
Ciroma and Attorney General Ige to ensure proper forwarding 
of the required information.  The NSA was aware that 
narcotics certification was a yearly exercise, and he said 
that the Obasanjo Administration was working hard to win a 
sufficient budget for the NDLEA from the National Assembly 
(now putting the finishing touches on a FY 2001 Supplemental 
Budget).  The NSA also acknowledged the rising crime problem 
in Lagos, noted the recent success of checkpoints on Ikoyi 
and Victoria islands, and said "we will succeed" in reducing 
crime. 
 
 
13. (C) When the Ambassador expressed concern on the apparent 
rising tension in the Niger Delta, the NSA noted the recent 
hostage taking, peacefully resolved, at Bonny Island, and 
said President Obasanjo would convene a meeting of oil and 
service industry executives, traditional and political 
leaders in the Delta, members of the National Assembly, and 
South-South State Governors to discuss the events in the 
region.  "We are in touch with Exxon/Mobil nearly every day," 
he said, and "we are aware of their concerns."  At Ambassador 
Jeter's request, the NSA said that the Embassy could send an 
observer to this meeting.  He also agreed with the 
Ambassador's assessment that the Production Sharing Contracts 
bid process was slow, but did not offer an opinion on the 
matter.  Digressing for a moment, on the question of 
trafficking of women and children from Nigeria, the NSA noted 
the close involvement of a small NGO headed by Vice President 
Atiku's wife in this issue, and said he would contact the 
Attorney General and the Inspector General of Police to 
encourage redoubled efforts to discourage trafficking. 
Finally, the Ambassador handed over a letter concerning the 
National ID Card project from Chams/Polaroid Consortium, 
which the NSA pledged to study and refer to the proper 
officials. 
 
 
14.  (C)  Comment. As always, the NSA proved attentive, 
helpful and willing to intervene where his assistance could 
be useful.  There has already been significant follow-up on 
the issues raised with the NSA and the President.  End 
comment. 
Jeter 

Latest source of this page is cablebrowser-2, released 2011-10-04