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Cablegate: Need to Continue Ecowas Logistical Support For

VZCZCXRO0824
PP RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHFN #0482 2271054
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 151054Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY FREETOWN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1275
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS FREETOWN 000482

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/W, AF/RSA MIKE BITTRICK AND SUSAN MCCARTY

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM SL
SUBJECT: NEED TO CONTINUE ECOWAS LOGISTICAL SUPPORT FOR
SIERRA LEONE NATIONAL ELECTIONS

REF: FREETOWN 481

1. The Economic Community of West AfricaN States (ECOWAS) has
played a prominent role in providing logistical support to
Sierra Leone's 2007 Presidential and Parliamentary elections
held on August 11. The ECOWAS Stand by Force equipment and
training depot, located in the Sierra Leone armed forces
Murray Town Barracks in Freetown and operated by Pacific
Architects and Engineers (PAE) through USG funding, provided
critical transportation support to the Sierra Leone National
Electoral Commission (NEC) by supplying 40 vehicles and
drivers to assist in the distribution of electoral materials
and ballots throughout Sierra Leone in advance of polling
day. The vehicles are also returning the ballots, tally
sheets and electoral materials to the National Elections
Headquarters in Freetown. These assets will also be needed
during a run off election (see Para 3).

2. On August 8, DCM and DATT met with the head of the ECOWAS
observer delegation Ghanian Lt Gen Seth Obeng. DCM thanked
Obeng for the ECOWAS support of the elections and underscored
the importance of the vehicle assets. Lt Gen Obeng responded
that ECOWAS was glad to be able to offer assistance and added
that he was very pleased with the thanks and appreciation
extended to him by NEC Chief Commissioner, Dr. Christiana
Thorpe during his meeting with her earlier that day. During
his visit we underscored that, in the likely event of a
presidential runoff in early September, the vehicles will be
essential again to the success of Sierra Leone's electoral
effort.

3. The NEC is currently certifying the vote tally, as as
results come in, it is becoming increasingly certain that
there will be a presidential runoff election which must be
held no later than September 6. The current ECOWAS agreement
for electoral logisitical assistance is scheduled to expire
August 22. Consequently Embassy Freetown respectfully
requests that the agreement be extended until at least
September 20, to allow for the delivery and pickup of the
electoral materials during the critical Presidential runoff.
HULL

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