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Cablegate: Cote D'ivoire: Report Card for Week 2 Of

VZCZCXYZ0001
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHAB #0402 1101726
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 201726Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY ABIDJAN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2846
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS ABIDJAN 000402

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL UN IV
SUBJECT: COTE D'IVOIRE: REPORT CARD FOR WEEK 2 OF
SORO GOVERNMENT

REF: ABIDJAN 374

1. (SBU) SUMMARY After using week one to get his cabinet
installed, the respectful and friendly ceremony marking the
beginning of the dissolution of the Zone of Confidence (ZOC)
and the opening of the Joint Integrated Command Center (ICC)
has been the highlight of week two of the Soro government.
There has been little movement on other fronts and the agenda
is chock-full. Soro has not announced appointments to the
key directorships (i.e., customs, ports, and the state-owned
media) or his own group of advisors. The decree announcing
Soro's powers as Prime Minister is still pending at the
Presidency, despite the announcement of cabinet positions the
week of April 9. The appointment of the audience foraines
(public identification hearings) judges is still in the
President's hands. Relaunch of this process depends on the
successful redeployment of public administrators (prefects)
in the north. Overall mood is one of hopefulness that this
new government will move the country forward and get down to
the business of governance. END SUMMARY

2. (SBU) At the April 16 ceremonies marking the dissolution
of the ZOC and the opening of the ICC, the mood of
participants was respectful toward Gbagbo and Soro with
congenial banter between the President and the new Prime
Minister. President Gbagbo reiterated that the war is over.
At one point, the master of ceremonies called on President
Gbagbo to speak to the crowd of diplomats and high-level
government officials, and the President deferred to Soro,
joking that Premiers always precede their Presidents. Soro
in brief comments said that his government will get down to
the business of governance immediately.

3. (SBU) However, by the end of the week, the agenda for
Soro's new government remains chock-full. The decree
announcing Soro's powers as Prime Minister is still pending
at the Presidency (Note: There are some indications that
Soro will not be invested with any special powers, as was
widely speculated, and Soro himself wanted, during the Ouaga
negotiations. End Note). Soro has not put in place his
inner circle of advisors in the Prime Minister's Office, nor
made key appointments to the directorships of the ports,
customs, the refining company, post or state-owned newspaper
Fraternite Matin and state-owned television and radio RTI,
all important indicators of the extent of Soro's authority
over the government. This week the controversial FPI
directors of customs, the ports and oil refining company
remain in place and have welcomed Mrs. Gbagbo, who is
promoting her new book on the war and the future of Cote
d'Ivoire, in grand public receptions at their offices. The
refinery director announced 15 million FCFA purchase of the
books, but the source of this funding remains obscure. Soro
has asked all of Banny's advisors to remain in their
positions until he decides the makeup of his office. Most of
these advisors are scrambling to try to keep their jobs.

4. (SBU) Soro has indicated that his priority is to implement
the identification process of undocumented Ivorians according
to the agreement outlined in the Ouagadougou Political Accord
(OPA). To date the audiences foraines remain suspended as
the Ministry of Justice awaits further instruction from the
Soro government. New judges have not yet been appointed as
the Ministry of Justice's list of 208 judges for deployment
throughout the country has been sitting on the President's
desk since December. Last week President Gbagbo announced
tha the audience foraines will resume only after publc
administrators (the prefects and subprefects) have been
redeployed in the north. The first group is expected to be
redeployed the week of April 23.

5. (SBU) COMMENT: The overall mood is hopeful that the
Gbagbo-Soro alliance will get down to the serious business of
governance. In short, the new Soro government is up and
running and gets passing (but not outstanding) marks for its
first two weeks. The overall mood in Cote d'Ivoire is
optimism that the Soro government will now get down to the
serious business of governing, something this troubled
country has not seen for at least six months. END COMMENT
Hooks

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