Cablegate: Freetown: Eac Meets to Discuss Ramifications Of
RR RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHFN #0599 3581614
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 231614Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY FREETOWN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2373
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
UNCLAS FREETOWN 000599
DEPARTMENT FOR AF/W
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC AMGT CASC SL
SUBJECT: FREETOWN: EAC MEETS TO DISCUSS RAMIFICATIONS OF
1. (SBU) EAC Freetown was convened on December 23 to discuss
the possible ramifications of Guinean President Conte's death
to security in Sierra Leone. Though Conakry is reported to be
calm, EAC is concerned about potentially rapid deteriorations
to the situation that may result in spillover effects in
Sierra Leone (e.g., refugees). Further, as the evacuation
point for Embassy Conakry, EAC must confirm/prepare
transportation routes and provisions for any influx of
American citizens. Chaired by DCM, participants were COM,
RSO, LEGATT, A/MGT, A/DATT, CONS, and USAID (Note: The new
CLO awaits final security clearance. End note.).
2. (SBU) RSO stated that he would meet with police contacts
to discuss border security. A check was conducted with
Embassy Conakry Post One, confirming positive radio contact.
The embassy boat, part of the evacuation strategy, will be
fueled and ready for service. Due to limited passenger
capacity (12), shuttles would be required. The
locally-engaged boat captain's holiday leave has been
suspended until further notice.
3. (SBU) CONS reported that there are 788 registered American
citizens in Sierra Leone, all of whom will receive a warden
message informing them of the situation and requesting that
any concerns be reported to the embassy. There are
approximately 4,032 evacuees in Sierra Leone, and 6,591 in
Guinea. The Guinean estimate includes 96 mission staff. CONS
is aware of 23 Peace Corps volunteers from Guinea traveling
in Sierra Leone over the holidays, and has contact
information with which to reach them
4. (SBU) A/MGT identified that 720 MREs are readily
available, and 140 large bottles of water. Blankets are in
shorter supply, and more will be acquired should Freetown be
called upon to house evacuees from the Conakry mission.
Checks on fuel and water for the residences will be conducted
on December 23, in preparation for the upcoming days of
official leave. A/MGT will review all country clearance
requests to determine if visits can be supported under
current or worsening circumstances.
5. (SBU) The USAID representative visiting from Conakry will
remain in Freetown until further notice.
6. (SBU) The EAC agreed to continue to closely monitor the
situation, maintaining contact with Embassy Conakry and
preparedness in case of evacuation or threats to Sierra
Leone's internal security. The EAC will meet again in the
coming days, as necessary.