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Cablegate: Au Moves Toward Sanctions, Following Icg-M Condemnation

VZCZCXRO3782
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMA RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN RUEHTRO
DE RUEHAN #0114/01 0570520
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 260520Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY ANTANANARIVO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3373
INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0238
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RHMFISS/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHMFIUU/CJTF HOA
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ANTANANARIVO 000114

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/E JAMES LIDDLE
PARIS FOR WALLACE BAIN
LONDON FOR PETER LORD
NSC FOR MGAVIN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV MA AU
SUBJECT: AU MOVES TOWARD SANCTIONS, FOLLOWING ICG-M CONDEMNATION

REF: A) ANTANANARIVO 44
B) ANTANANARIVO 97
C) ADDIS ABABA 12

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: On February 19, the African Union's Peace and
Security Council (PSC) decided on targeted sanctions against
Madagascar's coup leaders, giving them a final deadline of March 16
to implement the 2009 Maputo/Addis accords in good faith. Although
France and China blocked such precise language in the final
communique during the International Contact Group on Madagascar
(ICG-M) the previous day, most of the international community was in
agreement that these accords represent the only way forward, and
that de facto president Andry "TGV" Rajoelina's political movement
is the key impediment to their implementation. There was
disagreement in the ICG-M over the extent to which Rajoelina was
"showing progress" in his engagement with the international
community, but most found recent statements from the de facto GOM to
be unhelpful, provocative, and contrary to finding a solution. In
the five weeks since the ICG-M had last met in January, there has
been no progress in forming a unity government, or in addressing the
growing economic and social problems in Madagascar. Senior mediator
Joaquim Chissano agreed to try to organize a final round of talks
among the four Malagasy political leaders in Addis, possibly
starting March 1, to reach agreement on implementation of the
Maputo/Addis framework. This credible threat of AU sanctions
provides a new and necessary tool to back Chissano's efforts, but we
and most other observers here expect TGV to continue to flout the AU
and international community, rather than comply. END SUMMARY.

ICG-M: DIVISIONS PERSIST, BUT MAJORITY RULES
------------------------ -------------------
2. (SBU) In his January visit to Madagascar, AU Commission
Chairperson Jean Ping presented a proposal, based on the 2009
Maputo/Addis agreements, for forming a unity government and
organizing credible elections as soon as possible; each of the four
movements was to respond within 15 days (ref A). Former presidents
Ratsiraka, Zafy, and Ravalomanana responded favorably and on time,
while Rajoelina submitted an unacceptable response, several days
late. Ping promptly rejected it, stating that it "failed to meet
the expectations of the international community", leading Rajoelina
to submit a second response, dated February 16. In the interim,
both senior mediator Chissano and AU Commissioner Ramtane Lamamra
met with delegations from the HAT in Maputo to discuss the
proposals, and to coordinate the efforts of the AU and SADC.

3. (SBU) The second Rajoelina response also failed to respond
favorably to Ping's proposal. The first (dated Feb 5) had kept COL
Camille Vital as PM, questioned the need for the Presidential
Council, proposed that Vital and Rajoelina determine the cabinet
composition, eliminated all other transition institutions except the
High Council of the Transition (CST, equivalent to the Senate, and,
under the Maputo/Addis accords, was to be headed by a Rajoelina
appointee), and announced plans to hold elections in May. The
second (dated Feb 16) grudgingly accepts the Presidential Council -
but empowers Rajoelina to select his co-presidents from lists
proposed by Zafy and Ravalomanana. It insists on retaining Vital as
PM, and grants him the authority to select ministers from lists
proposed by the three opposition movements. As in the first
response, it provides for the formation of a CST, but considers the
other transition institutions (all to be headed by other political
movements) as "unjustified, given the short duration of the
transition period". Details on a revised electoral code and the
formation of the electoral commission (CENI) are left blurry and
essentially in the hands of Vital. Finally, it makes all of these
provisions contingent on a commitment that elections for a
Constituent Assembly (which was not foreseen in the Maputo/Addis
agreements) will be held in May 2010.

4. (SBU) The French delegation, led by MFA A/S for Africa equivalent
Stephane Gompertz, took an optimistic view: Rajoelina's continued
engagement, and the relative "softening" of his position between the
two versions above, was to be encouraged. The AU Commission
leadership, senior mediator Chissano, and almost every other
delegation present, however, saw the two responses simply as varying
degrees of a bad faith effort to appease the ICG while surrendering
nothing to the opposition. The delegations from Nigeria,
Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Malawi came out
forcefully in favor of ending this nearly year-long debacle, and
provided an effective balance against French objections that

ANTANANARI 00000114 002 OF 003


ultimately required little assistance from the United States and
other European delegations. Deputy Assistant Secretary Karl Wycoff
confirmed the USG's intention to follow the AU's lead on sanctions,
reiterated US concern about the degrading human rights situation in
Madagascar, and raised the need for a specific endpoint should
further mediation fail to yield results. Chissano responded
specifically to Rajoelina's letters, methodically rebutting each
element listed in para 3 before stating that the Feb 16 letter
"completely disregarded Ping's [January] compromise". He also added
some useful context: Vital had called him the previous night to
inform him that "it's up to the ICG to decide if they want to
sanction, but we [the de facto government] will find a way around
them if you do".

5. (SBU) In its final communique, the ICG-M recognized that
Rajoelina's response was "not fully consistent with the proposals
for compromise solutions", and empowered Ping and Chissano to resume
their work to implement the Maputo/Addis agreements. In the event
of continued impasse, it called on members to take measures,
possibly "including further sanctions", against those who are
impeding progress. The ICG-M continues to agree that elections are
the ultimate means to restoring democracy, but recognizes that a
functioning and inclusive transition government is a vital step to
getting there. This amounted to a firm condemnation of Rajoelina's
continued intransigence, did not oblige any members to impose
sanctions if they didn't wish to, and left the ball squarely in the
AU's court to determine the path forward. Chissano closed the ICG-M
on February 18 by stating his intent to convene a final meeting in
Addis of Madagascar's four political leaders, possibly starting
March 1, to reach agreement on outstanding issues regarding
implementation of the Maputo/Addis framework. (Curiously, word of
this plan has not become public in Antananarivo.)

AU PEACE AND SECURITY COUNCIL: SERIOUS AT LAST
------------------------------ ---------------
6. (SBU) The AU PSC met on February 19, with the ICG-M decision in
hand, and the day-old military takeover in Niger still ringing in
their ears. Ping presented a lengthy report on the situation in
Madagascar, recounting the AU's involvement and actions to date, and
summarizing the movements' responses (see paras 2 and 3) to his
January proposal. He regretted the continued failure to implement
the Maputo/Addis agreements, and stated that although responsibility
for this failure is shared, "the Rajoelina camp is alone in not
supporting the proposals that [Ping] presented on January 22...and
has continued to take unilateral measures which cannot but result in
additional difficulties."

7. (SBU) Ping called for the AU to "definitively turn the page" on
coups d'etat and other forms of unconstitutional change of
government, and supported sanctions against the de facto GOM and
"all individuals and entities...[which contribute] to the
unconstitutional status quo." In its communique, released later
that day, the PSC affirmed its support of this view, demanded that
the de facto GOM accept the Maputo and Addis agreements, and decided
to impose sanctions if "the authorities borne out of the
unconstitutional change do not comply" by March 16. These sanctions
would consist of three parts; following is a transcription of the
specific language presented in the communique. The sanctions would
include:

[Begin transcription]

(i) a travel ban against all members of the institutions set up by
the de facto authorities borne out of the unconstitutional change
and all other individual members of the Rajoelina camp whose actions
impede the AU and Southern Africa Development Community (SADC)
efforts to restore constitutional order. In this respect, Council
decides that these measures shall be without prejudice to exemptions
that it may decide to grant, on a case-by-case
basis, at its own initiative or upon request, on humanitarian
grounds or for requirements linked to the negotiations for a way out
of the crisis [...];

(ii) the freezing of funds, other financial assets and economic
resources of all individuals and entities contributing, in one way
or another, to the maintenance of the unconstitutional status quo
and impeding the AU and SADC efforts to restore constitutional
order. In this respect, Council decides that these measures shall be
without prejudice to exemptions that it may grant, at its own

ANTANANARI 00000114 003 OF 003


initiative or upon request, to facilitate basic needs and expenses
[...];

(iii) the diplomatic isolation of the de facto authorities borne out
of unconstitutional change, through concerted action by Member
States to challenge the participation of the representatives of
these de facto authorities in the activities of non-African
international organizations, including the United Nations and its
agencies and other
concerned bodies.

[End transcription]

8. (SBU) The PSC communique calls on partners (including the UN, the
EU, and the UNSC P5) to support this decision, and refrain from any
action which could undermine these efforts. It also instructs the
AU Commission, in collaboration with SADC, to "establish the list of
individuals and entities [to be sanctioned]", to be delivered to AU
member states and partners "if necessary". This list is currently
rumored to include 77 individuals, from the de facto presidency, the
cabinet, and the 41-member "High Transitional Authority".

FINALLY, A RESOLUTION WITH TEETH
--------------------------------
9. (SBU) COMMENT: The February 18 meeting of the ICG, and the
subsequent meeting of the PSC, benefitted from three key
developments since the January 6 ICG-M (ref C). First, it has
become increasingly obvious that a rush to elections is not a
panacea, and that the structure and composition of the transition
government is of vital importance in finding a credible resolution
to this crisis. French attempts to define recent developments as
"progress" no longer hold much water, and few (if any) in the ICG
were swayed by such arguments.

10. (SBU) Second, the dynamic between the AU and SADC has improved
significantly since then. Chissano found himself sidelined and
somewhat ignored in January, whereas this time he was seated next to
Ping and Lamamra on the dais, with a strong and equal voice in
leading the discussion. This allows the AU (Ping) to comfortably
retain political control over the process, while enabling SADC
(Chissano) to engage in the direct mediation, without stepping on
each other's toes.

11. (SBU) Third, in addition to its focus on stopping
unconstitutional changes of government in Africa, the AU discussed
Madagascar in its recent 14th Ordinary Session of the Assembly, and
"expressed deep concern over the continuing political crisis" in the
country. The Assembly decision to affirm support for the
Maputo/Addis agreements, and for AU and SADC efforts to seek their
implementation, gave the ICG and the AU Commission yet another
reference point and basis for determining their next steps.

12. (SBU) These ICG-M and AU PSC decisions give Chissano a useful
and necessary tool for a final attempt at mediation, backed up now
by a credible threat of sanctions. Unfortunately, Rajoelina remains
in a precarious position atop a fractious political alliance and
under continuous threat from hardliners strongly opposed to further
concessions. The new threat of sanctions is therefore unlikely, in
our view and that of most observers here, to change his position
regarding Maputo/Addis (ref B). Rajoelina has not made any public
statements since the ICG-M, although media reports indicate that he
still plans on elections in May. END COMMENT.

13. (U) This cable was cleared by Joel Maybury (USAU), but was not
reviewed by Deputy Assistant Secretary Wycoff (AF).

MARQUARDT

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