US embassy cable - 06PARIS2553

CONGO/BRAZZAVILLE: AMBASSADOR WEISBERG'S APRIL 14 CONSULTATIONS AT FOREIGN MINISTRY

Identifier: 06PARIS2553
Wikileaks: View 06PARIS2553 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Paris
Created: 2006-04-19 10:31:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PREL VZ SU CF FR
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
VZCZCXRO7496
RR RUEHMR RUEHPA
DE RUEHFR #2553/01 1091031
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 191031Z APR 06
FM AMEMBASSY PARIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6438
INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 1203
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 0370
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0719
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 PARIS 002553 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
KINSHASA PASS BRAZZAVILLE 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/18/2016 
TAGS: PREL, VZ, SU, CF, FR 
SUBJECT: CONGO/BRAZZAVILLE:  AMBASSADOR WEISBERG'S APRIL 14 
CONSULTATIONS AT FOREIGN MINISTRY 
 
REF: A. ADDIS ABABA 1004 
     B. KINSHASA 589 
 
Classified By:  Political Minister-Counselor Josiah Rosenblatt, reasons 
 1.4. (b/d). 
 
1.  (C)  SUMMARY:  In an April 14 meeting with Ambassador 
Robert Weisberg, MFA DAS-equivalent Helene Le Gal said that 
Republic of Congo (ROC) President Sassou Nguesso told the 
French prior to the African Union's April 13 communique on 
Chad that the AU would not condemn Sudan.  A small group of 
ROC officials is managing ROC's presence on the UNSC and its 
presidency of the AU; Le Gal said that so far, the ROC had 
done an effective job as AU president.  She said that, in 
France's view, the AU's March 10 decision on rehatting AMIS 
was a "green light" and did not contain hidden obstacles. 
France was concerned about the recent "Publish What You Pay: 
incident in the ROC, which underscored the need for 
transparency concerning financial management issues.  She 
agreed with Ambassador Weisberg that the U.S. and France 
should consider ways to stress the importance of transparency 
to the ROC.  Le Gal expressed concern about China's offering 
loans to the ROC tied to oil, saying this could cause 
problems with the World Bank and IMF.  Le Gal had no comment 
on the Venezuelan UNSC candidacy and African voting 
intentions, but she mentioned that Venezuela apparently 
planned to open six additional embassies in Africa.  END 
SUMMARY. 
 
ROC a Friend of Chad? 
 
2.  (C)  Ambassador Robert Weisberg, en route to the Republic 
of Congo (ROC), met with MFA DAS-equivalent Helene Le Gal on 
April 14.  Noting the assistance that Chad President Deby had 
provided to ROC President Sassou Nguesso in 1997, we asked Le 
Gal whether this would induce Sassou Nguesso to encourage AU 
support for Deby in the wake of the recent coup attempt.  Le 
Gal referred to the African Union's Peace and Security 
Council communique of April 13 (ref A), noting that it did 
not condemn Sudan directly, although "everybody knows Sudan 
is supporting the rebels in Chad," she said, point a finger 
at the Sudanese security services.  Le Gal said the GOF had 
spoken to Sassou Nguesso before the AU PSC meeting, and he 
said the communique would not condemn Sudan but would rather 
focus on the rebels.  Le Gal noted the strong links between 
Deby, Sassou Nguesso, Gabon President Bongo, and CAR 
President Bozize, who tended to support each other. 
 
UNSC and AU:  A Tight and Compact ROC Team 
 
3.  (C)  Le Gal said that a handful of ROC officials was 
responsible for managing ROC's tenure on the UNSC and its 
presidency of the AU.  This small group included Sassou 
Nguesso, Foreign Minister Adada, Adada's Secretary-General 
and Diplomatic Counselor, and the ROC's Ambassadors in New 
York, Addis Ababa, and Paris.  Le Gal said that these 
ambassadors were of high quality.  She said that ROC energies 
seemed more directed at managing international rather than 
domestic issues.  So far, the ROC seemed to be doing an 
effective job as AU president, although its tenure had only 
begun.  She mentioned that the ROC had handled the AMIS 
rehatting issue relatively well in the AU.  Le Gal was 
confident that the AU's March 10 decision represented a 
"green light," with no hidden obstacles that might complicate 
rehatting at a later stage.  "If anyone has problems, it will 
be Sudan, and not the AU," she said. 
 
ROC Financial Management Issues 
 
4.  (C)  Le Gal noted ROC's continuing international debt 
problems and their effect on the ROC's relations with the 
World Bank and other IFIs.  She stressed the need for 
transparency, and expressed dismay over the "Publish What You 
Pay" episode (ref B).  The arrest and harassment of the two 
members of the NGO were a "step backward."  Le Gal indicated 
that the GOF had advised the ROC against taking the kinds of 
action it had taken against "Publish What You Pay." 
Ambassador Weisberg commented that the American public could 
become increasingly aware of ROC financial irregularities and 
would not take kindly to them.  Le Gal agreed with Ambassador 
Weisberg on the need to promote transparency in the ROC and 
suggested that the GOF and USG, through their missions in 
Brazzaville, discuss ways to cooperate in this area.  She 
noted that petroleum giant Total, which had an important (but 
not "privileged") presence in the ROC, was also calling for 
transparency. 
 
 
PARIS 00002553  002 OF 002 
 
 
Domestic Issues 
 
5.  (C)  Le Gal said that Sassou Nguesso seemed to be in full 
control domestically, but she remarked that there had never 
been a true disarming of various militia groups.  She said 
that some reconciliation on the government's part seems to 
have taken place with the opposition.  She and Ambassador 
Weisberg compared notes on road and railway construction 
projects, and the long-discussed but never implemented bridge 
project that would link Kinshasa and Brazzaville, which the 
DRC always seemed to scotch.  Le Gal and Ambassador Weisberg 
agreed on the importance of working with the ROC on 
environmental issues, given the country's resources and rain 
forests. 
 
China 
 
6.  (C)  Le Gal remarked that China had established a 
presence in ROC, "as it has in all African countries with 
resources."  She said that China offered loans to the ROC 
tied to oil.  She believed that the ROC risked aggravating 
its problems with the World Bank and IMF if it continued to 
make such loan arrangements with China, and she indicated 
that France had counseled the ROC on potential problems with 
the IFIs regarding the Chinese loans. 
 
Venezuela:  Courting Africans? 
 
7.  (C)  Ambassador Weisberg queried Le Gal about how 
Africans viewed the UNSC candidacy of Venezuela.  Le Gal 
offered no definitive information, but she noted her surprise 
at hearing that Venezuela was planning to open an additional 
six embassies in Africa.  She did not recall the locations. 
 
ROC Nationals in France 
 
8.  (C)  Le Gal said in passing that there was not a large 
population of ROC nationals residing in France, especially 
when compared with the number of DRC nationals in France. 
 
 
 
Please visit Paris' Classified Website at: 
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/paris/index.c fm 
 
Stapleton 

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