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Cablegate: The First 30 Days: Chad's New "Government Of

VZCZCXRO2127
PP RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHNJ #0248/01 1571343
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 051343Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY NDJAMENA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6267
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBP/AMEMBASSY BAMAKO PRIORITY 0907
RUEHGI/AMEMBASSY BANGUI PRIORITY 1504
RUEHNM/AMEMBASSY NIAMEY PRIORITY 3061
RUEHNK/AMEMBASSY NOUAKCHOTT PRIORITY 0169
RUEHYD/AMEMBASSY YAOUNDE PRIORITY 1691

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 NDJAMENA 000248

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

PARIS AND LONDON FOR AFRICA WATCHERS; STATE FOR AF - DAS
SWAN, AF/C, AF/SPG, AF/EPS, AND AF/RSA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PREF PHUM EFIN ECON SU LY CD
SUBJECT: THE FIRST 30 DAYS: CHAD'S NEW "GOVERNMENT OF
NATIONAL RECONCILIATION" AFTER ONE MONTH IN OFFICE

REF: NDJAMENA 165

NDJAMENA 00000248 001.2 OF 002


------
Summary
-------

1. (SBU) In its first month in office, Prime Minister
Youssouf Saleh Abbas's new "government of National
reconciliation" has brought key former opposition figures
into the cabinet; welcomed the reformed opposition coalition
back to participation in the electoral reform process; seen
the Commission investigating the February "events" begin its
work; and taken definite steps toward restoring press
freedom. The new cabinet also undertook to address Chad's
troubled relations with International Financial Institutions;
pursued with some success "intra-Chadian diplomacy" aimed at
attracting armed rebels back into Chad to rejoin the
political process; and employed more traditional diplomatic
methods to reduce tensions between Chad and Sudan by reacting
moderately to Sudanese provocation after the attack on
Omdurman and by participating in the Dakar Accord
implementation process. End Summary.

--------------------------
The New PM and His Program
--------------------------

2. (SBU) Youssouf Saleh Abbas, known as "YSA" in the Chadian
media, and who the "Economist" of London has called, "an
Easterner who at least talks the talk of ending Chad's lethal
culture of impunity," took office about a month ago. YSA,
who came to power claiming to have greater autonomy and scope
for action than President Deby had ever before granted a
Prime Minister, named a cabinet that included former
opposition leaders in important ministries -- Defense,
Justice, and Agriculture, and Urbanization -- and adopted a
program of "national reconciliation" that includes electoral
reform, good governance, press freedom; and promises to
reduce corruption, official impunity, and indiscipline on the
part of security forces. He also is publicly committed to
better relations with Sudan through implementation of the
Dakar Accord and to talks with armed rebel groups to bring
them back into the Chadian political process.

-----------------------
Restoring Press Freedom
-----------------------

3. (SBU) The new government has taken measures to restore
press freedom, abridged even before the February attacks, and
tightened by decree after the attacks. YSA did an interview
with what looked like the entire capital press corps on May
14, answering questions on all issues and from all quarters.
He admitted that the State had acted high-handedly but
defended the government's right to require journalists to
respect the Chadian code of Journalism and to report and
analyze responsibly. He promised that there would be action
soon on the two pre-attack cases of government pressure on
independent media, the closing of "Radio FM Liberte" and the
detention of the editor of the weekly publication, "Notre
Temps."

4. (SBU) On May 27, the High Commission on Communications
(HCC) announced that "Radio FM Liberte" was free to resume
broadcasting and on May 26 the legal case against the "Notre
Temps" editor was nullified by the court. The logical next
step would be for the government and parliament to declare
the post-attack executive order - ordinance number five that
restricts press freedom as an emergency measure -- null and
void. The Communications Minister has told us that this is
already in the works. The Prime Minister personally convoked
the director of USG-funded INTERNEWS training project for
journalists to thank her for the ongoing program and
encourage her in her efforts to professionalize Chad's
journalists.

--------------------------------------------- --
The Opposition Reorganizes and Redefines Itself
--------------------------------------------- --

5. (SBU) The opposition coalition CPDC (Coordination of the
Political Parties of the Democratic Opposition) reorganized

NDJAMENA 00000248 002.2 OF 002


itself on May 28, retaining the disappeared Ibni Oumar Saleh
Mahamat as "Spokesman," its top position, and adding Saleh
Kebabo as Deputy Spokesman, retaining former key members Lol
Mahamat Choua and Salibou Garba, while addition Ali Gabriel
Golhor and Jean Baptiste Laoukole to replace Saleh Makki, who
was named to the President's personal staff. The CPDC also
resisted attempts by the four former CPDC members who joined
the cabinet to retain their membership in the CPDC and who
claimed to "represent" the CPDC inside the government.

----------------------------------------
And Rejoins the Electoral Reform Process
----------------------------------------

6. (SBU) The CPDC returned to participation in the Comite de
Suivi (monitoring committee) on May 12 and the first plenary
session was held on June 4. At the plenary, the president,
Lol Mahamat Choua, highlighted key priorities for the Comite
de Suivi, including reinforcing the capacity of political
parties and civil society and engaging in consultations for
the composition of the National Independent Electoral
Commission (CENI), a critical step for legislative elections
anticipated for next year. Choua stressed in his remarks the
need to work quickly to accomplish what had been agreed to in
the 13 August Accords.

-----------------------------------
Investigating the February "Events"
-----------------------------------

7. (SBU) Commission d'Enquete (Investigative Commission) has
been organized and is functioning reasonably well, according
to the French and EU, both of which have provided legal
experts to assist the Commission's work. The Commission has
interviewed hundreds of government officials, local
officials, community leaders and ordinary citizens. It has
held open sessions and closed ones, according to the
circumstances. Its director has given press interviews to
publicize the Commission's aims and progress.

---------------------
Traditional Diplomacy
---------------------

8. (SBU) YSA's government is publicly committed to better
relations with Sudan through implementation of the Dakar
Accords. New Foreign Minister Fakki attended the Tripoli
meeting of the contact group to implement the Dakar Accords
and traveled to Cairo and Algiers to pled Chad's case. The
GOC reacted moderately to Sudan's provocation after the JEM
attack on Khartoum, which it condemned.

-------------------------
"Intra-Chadian" Diplomacy
-------------------------

9. (SBU) The new government has publicly and privately
offered to talk "anywhere, anytime," to armed rebel groups in
an attempt to convince them to renounce violence and return
to Chad to enter the domestic political arena. The GOC
continues to be successful in attracting various armed rebel
groups to do just that. YSA has welcomed several small former
rebel groups back to Chad and met with them to discuss their
return to the political process. The once-formidable
Zaghawa-dominated RFC rebel group led by the Erdimi brothers,
has seen its effectiveness erode through defections to the
GOC.

------------------------------------
International Financial Institutions
------------------------------------

10. (SBU) YSA has also privately disclosed plans to address
Chad's troubled relations with the World Bank and IMF. He
has pledged to travel to Washington in early July to try to
maintain full World Bank and IMF cooperation with Chad.
NIGRO

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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