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Cablegate: Wade's Post-U.N. Diplomatic Offensive

VZCZCXRO6879
RR RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHDK #1988/01 2771604
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 041604Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY DAKAR
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9318
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEHKH/AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM 0077
RUEHSB/AMEMBASSY HARARE 0092
RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA 2167
RUEHAD/AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI 0043
RUEHDE/AMCONSUL DUBAI 0008
RUEHLMC/MCC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 DAKAR 001988

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

DEPT FOR AF/W, AF/E, AF/S, AF/RSA, DRL, INR/AA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL KUNR PGOV IR ZI SG
SUBJECT: WADE'S POST-U.N. DIPLOMATIC OFFENSIVE

DAKAR 00001988 001.2 OF 002


SUMMARY
-------
1. (U) On October 1, Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade gave a
rambling, two and a half-hour press conference where he detailed his
participation at the 62nd UN General Assembly meeting in New York
and his other meetings and activities during his September trip to
the United States. He opined that the situation between the United
States and Iran is not yet ripe for mediation but said he will
continue to engage the Iranian authorities to encourage them to
dialogue with the United States. Wade urged that a seat with veto
power be awarded to Africa on the UN Security Council. Announcing
that he will travel to Harare within two weeks, Wade argued that
South African President Thabo Mbeki alone cannot deal with the
crisis in Zimbabwe and that more African heads of state need to be
engaged. Wade also announced that Senegal would be receiving
discounted fuel from Iran, Nigeria, and Equatorial Guinea and that
companies from Iran, Dubai, Nigeria, and the United States are
planning to build fuel depots in Senegal. He also raised Senegal's
stalled MCC program and other development issues to be reported
septel. End Summary.

THE IRAN NUCLEAR QUESTION IS NOT RIPE FOR NEGOTIATION
--------------------------------------------- --------

2. (U) Wade said that while Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
had agreed to Wade being an intermediary with the United States,
President Bush's preconditions made this a difficult undertaking.
Wade explained, "My goal is for the two to talk to each other." He
emphasized that he is not discouraged and would include Teheran in
his itinerary when he travels to the Middle East in the next few
days to discuss the agenda of the March 2008 Summit of the
Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in Dakar. He
underlined his belief that the tripartite approach regarding Iran's
nuclear program is not working and that more countries need to be
included in those discussions.

A UN SECURITY COUNCIL SEAT FOR AFRICA
--------------------------------------

3. (U) Asked about Security Council reform, he said Africa must
speak with one voice and demanded an African seat with veto power.
He said it is an injustice that the continent is not represented
when the majority of the Council's discussions are about Africa and
its problems. He argued that developed countries should not impose
on Africa which country should be its representative, but added that
Senegal's preference is Nigeria.

SENEGAL MAY PULL OUT OF DARFUR
------------------------------

4. (U) Commenting on the situation in Darfur where Senegal lost
another soldier during a September 30 rebel attack, Wade said he
will order an investigation into this latest death and if it is
proven that the Senegal soldiers were poorly armed and unable to
defend themselves, he will withdraw Senegal's entire peacekeeping
contingent. He declared that it was on Sudan's insistence that he
had agreed to provide 450 police officers and to increase Senegal's
presence in peace-keeping operations - "because they trust us" --
but warned that he will not send Senegalese soldiers to their death.
He opined that this weekend's attack undermines international
confidence in Sudan's commitment to a larger peace operation.


THE ZIMBAWE CRISIS SHOULD NOT BE LEFT TO SOUTH AFRICA
--------------------------------------------- --------

5. (U) Responding to a South African journalist in English, Wade
said, "South Africa is a goodwill neighbor, but the crisis should
not be left to President Mbeki alone to resolve." He noted that,
despite all of Mbeki's engagement with Mugabe, little progress had
been made. Wade said that he had met with President Mugabe in New
York and is planning to travel to Harare within two weeks. He added
that the Zimbabwean question should be tackled with the inclusion of
many African heads of state, arguing "we should have an official
position about Zimbabwe; this has not been the case so far." Wade
said he is taking this initiative to alleviate the suffering of the
Zimbabwean people and to mediate between Mugabe, the opposition and
the United Kingdom prior to next year's election.

COMMENT
-------
6. (SBU) Wade's press conference was a diplomatic spectacle to
demonstrate to the Senegalese people and his African audience the

DAKAR 00001988 002.2 OF 002


respect he is afforded by world leaders. The two hour plus show
seemed to be a response to the growing protests he faces from his
opposition in Senegal, who attended and publicly heckled Wade during
his address to the Congressional Black Caucus in Washington (Wade
did not mention this during his press conference, however, and was
dismissive when a Senegalese journalist made reference to the
incident). The opposition is currently campaigning internationally
to denounce his weaknesses in the areas of good governance and
democratic reforms. Wade is hoping to assuage the anger of some of
his disillusioned people with prestigious diplomatic moves. By
announcing large commercial deals with foreign partners, Wade seems
to be seeking to distract the Senegalese from the economic problems
ordinary people face (or at least reassure them that things will get
better soon.) By focusing most of his remarks on Iran, Darfur, the
UN Security Council seat and Zimbabwe, Wade is burnishing his
credentials as a statesman and a world leader. Moreover, the tone
of his remarks and past comments suggest a desire to demonstrate
that he and Senegal are as integral to solving crises in Africa as
Mbeki and South Africa.
PIAZZA

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