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Cablegate: Greentree Agreement Follow-Up Meeting: Progress In

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PP RUEHPA
DE RUEHGV #1092/01 3530932
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 180932Z DEC 08
FM USMISSION GENEVA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7760
INFO RUEHAB/AMEMBASSY ABIDJAN 0308
RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 0239
RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 0541
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 0915
RUEHBP/AMEMBASSY BAMAKO 0117
RUEHJL/AMEMBASSY BANJUL 0148
RUEHRY/AMEMBASSY CONAKRY 0161
RUEHCO/AMEMBASSY COTONOU 0179
RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 0880
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RUEHNM/AMEMBASSY NIAMEY 0124
RUEHNK/AMEMBASSY NOUAKCHOTT 0114
RUEHOU/AMEMBASSY OUAGADOUGOU 0159
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 3354
RUEHPA/AMEMBASSY PRAIA
RUEHYD/AMEMBASSY YAOUNDE 0093
RUEHOS/AMCONSUL LAGOS 0302
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC
RUFGAID/USEUCOM AIDES VAIHINGEN GE
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2892

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 GENEVA 001092

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PBTS PREF SMIG KDEM PINR CM NI
SUBJECT: GREENTREE AGREEMENT FOLLOW-UP MEETING: PROGRESS IN
IMPLEMENTING AUGUST 14 BAKASSI PENINSULA TRANSFER

REF: GENEVA 537

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: In a December 15 meeting in Geneva of the
Follow-up Committee on Implementation of the Greentree
Agreement, Cameroon and Nigeria agreed that things were going
smoothly with the transfer of authority on the Bakassi
Peninsula. Cameroon noted its effort systematically to
catalogue the citizenship of the peninsula's residents. Both
sides saw the need to strengthen security on the peninsula,
not only bilaterally but perhaps through the Gulf of Guinea
Commission; Follow-up Committee Chair Prendergast also
floated other ideas for cooperation, including possibly
through the U.S. military's African Command. Though the
session ended on a generally positive note, it left
unresolved whether UN observer missions could be deployed
anywhere in the Bakassi Peninsula, as Nigeria proposed, or
only in the transfer zone, as Cameroon favored. This caused
the only bit of tension in the session's otherwise positive
atmosphere, although the Nigerian delegation head's comments
at various points elicited doubts about his level of
preparedness for the meeting. END SUMMARY.

2. (U) The Follow-up Committee, which had last met in Geneva
in July (reftel), began on a positive note, with its Chair,
Kieran Prendergast, praising all involved, including the
witness states. (Representatives of the four witness states
-- the U.S., UK, France and Germany -- attended.) He
reiterated the UN SyG's continued commitment to remain
engaged until successful completion of the Greentree
Agreement's implementation, adding at the session's
conclusion that he hoped a future session of the Committee
could take place in New York so that the SyG could personally
express his appreciation to all involved. The Cameroon
delegation head, Minister Delegate in the Justice Ministry
Maurice Kamto, praised all the parties, singling out
Nigeria's cooperation. Kamto said the GoC would meet all its
obligations in the transitory period. The Nigeria delegation
head, Attorney General Michael Aondoakaa, also praised all
the involved parties and said his government had heard no
complaints from the Nigerian population on the peninsula.

IDENTIFYING THE PENINSULA'S POPULATION
--------------------------------------

3. (SBU) The generally smooth implementation of the Agreement
had resulted in an influx of Nigerians to the Bakassi
Peninsula, Kamto noted. Cameroon was committed to allowing
ethnic Nigerians living there to choose Cameroonian or
Nigerian citizenship, he continud. His government was
conducting a survey of thse residing on and returning to the
peninsula, bth to determine which citizenship they had
chosen and to facilitate resolution of controversies that
might arise over land ownership, particularly involving those
who had previously fled the area but were now returning.
Aondoakaa briefly created some confusion when he said that
the peninsula was now Cameroonian territory so that all those
residing on it would become Cameroonian citizens; he then
shifted his position, saying that ethnic Nigerians on the
peninsula could retain their Nigerian citizenship but would
have to respect Cameroonian laws.

SECURITY ISSUES
---------------

4. (U) Both sides agreed the post-August 14 transfer had
raised new security challenges, requiring renewed efforts to

GENEVA 00001092 002 OF 002


step up security arrangements. Aondoakaa focused on
bilateral cooperation. Kamto pointed to three levels of
possible cooperation: bilaterally between heads of state,
where things were proceeding well; bilaterally between
security forces, including on information exchanges, where
more might be done; and multilaterally, perhaps through the
Gulf of Guinea Commission. Prendergast welcomed the
commitment to expanded bilateral security cooperation, argued
that using the Gulf of Guinea Commission might prove useful,
and noted that other avenues for cooperation and assistance
should be explored, including the U.S. military's African
Command.

OBSERVER MISSIONS
-----------------

5. (SBU) Kamto argued that because work on the peninsula's
future had entered into a new phase following the August 14
transfer of authority, it was important to discuss the future
role of UN observer missions. He posited that such missions
could only occur in the zone that had been transferred to
Cameroonian authority, not to the peninsula as a whole.
After initially agreeing with this, Aondoakaa reversed
course, saying that the missions could be deployed throughout
the peninsula. Kamto countered that Nigeria could request
access to the entire peninsula, but would need to do so by a
request made through diplomatic channels; UN observer
missions were not the vehicle for this. With Prendergast and
the Cameroonian delegation obviously perplexed, Aondoakaa
backed off somewhat, saying that his view resulted from a
loose interpretation of the Greentree Agreement, and said
that the differences between the two sides on the issue were
fairly minor, with little practical significance. The
session ended in some confusion, with Prendergast saying he
would try to resolve the issue with the two delegations
privately.

COMMENT
-------

6. (SBU) Because of the disagreement over the observer
missions' area of responsibility, the session ended on a less
positive note than had prevailed until then. Nonetheless,
the session appears to have advanced the process of
implementing the Greentree Agreement. Our impression, shared
by the representatives of some of the other witness states,
was that the Nigerian delegation -- and particularly their
delegation head, Aondoakaa -- did not come as well prepared
as the Cameroonian delegation, which resulted in some hitches.
TICHENOR

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