Cablegate: Ecowas Priorities for Its November 22-23 Donors

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (SBU) Summary. The agenda for the November 2004 ECOWAS
Donors Conference has been published and shows a high
priority assigned to defense and security issues. ECOWAS
will seek to have a broad and diverse range of potential
donors at the conference, including China and Japan. From
the U.S., ECOWAS will seek particular support for a proposal
to assess, administer, and eventually cede operational
control of the Freetown Depot in Sierra Leone to ECOWAS.
End Summary.

2. (SBU) POLOFF met with Dr. Chuck Grimm, U.S. Advisor to
ECOWAS, on September 23, 2004 to discuss the Donors
Conference and ECOWAS priorities. The agenda for the
November 22-23 ECOWAS Donors Conference has been set. This
year's conference will place a heavier focus on the Deputy
Executive Secretariat for Political Affairs, Defense, and
Security (DES-PADS) than in years past. The conference will
be two days, with the entire first day dedicated to DES-PADS
and second day shared among the remaining 3 Deputy Executive
Secretariats (Administration and Finance, Integration

Programs, and Policy Harmonization). A formal reception
initially scheduled for the first night of the conference has
been rescheduled for the second night to allow for evening
break-out and discussion sessions related to DES-PADS. The
Executive Secretary of ECOWAS, Dr. Chambas, views this
conference as a high priority issue. He will personally open
both days of the conference and changed the date for the
ECOWAS Foreign Ministers Conference to allow greater focus on
the Donors Conference.

ECOWAS Priorities

3. (SBU) ECOWAS is attempting to create a standing military
force that may eventually become part of the African Union's
proposed standby force. ECOWAS is currently preparing at
least 16 Requirements Papers, and will distribute them to
potential donors no later than November 2. Among them,
ECOWAS will be looking for U.S. support to eventually turn
over the Freetown Depot in Sierra Leone to ECOWAS control and
administration. They view this as a "matter of honor."
ECOWAS will request that the U.S. assist with a needs
assessment and establishment of stocking levels at the depot
once the standing force is authorized and units are pledged.
The present U.S. administration of the depot would then train
an ECOWAS contingent to run the facility (on-the-job
training), eventually ceding full control to ECOWAS.

Who will be invited?

4. (SBU) Invitations will not be formalized until early
November, but ECOWAS would like to get a broad and diverse
range of potential donors to attend. They plan to add China
and Japan to the usual list. China has already donated
significant quantities of communications equipment, and
ECOWAS would like to build on that relationship. Japan has
indicated that it might be willing to train and support a
medical unit and Germany has indicated support for an
engineering unit. ECOWAS views the USG as the only "honest
broker" among potential donor nations, however, owing both to
a lack of colonial history in Africa and a history of support
and cooperation with the ES.

5. (SBU) ECOWAS will ask donors to send representatives to
this conference who are technically familiar with the issues
and can commit support to projects. ECOWAS has learned that
the UK will have no more than 250,000 British pounds to
contribute at the conference, likely to be focused to the
Kofi Annan Center, but that the UK will still seek to exert
significant influence over the ECOWAS policy vision despite
this lack of financial support.


6. (U) Following is the published agenda for the conference:

NOVEMBER 22, 2004 (Monday)
0900-0945 Coffee Service (ECOWAS Patio)

1000 Dr. Chambas' Introductory Remarks-"The Linkage Between
Diplomacy, Defense, and Development"

1100 DES-Political Affairs, Defense, and Security: Overview,
Standby Forces, Standby Depots and Logistics, and Training
and Other Standby Issues.

1200-1330 Lunch Break (ECOWAS Patio)

1330-1800 DES-PADS (continued): Humanitarian Affairs,
Political Affairs, OMC, and Other

1900-2100 Evening break-out and discussion sessions

NOVEMBER 23, 2004 (Tuesday)
0900 Opening Remarks by ECOWAS Executive Secretary

0930-1000 Coffee Break

1000-1200 DES-Administration and Finance: Human Resources
Capacity, Financial Capacity, and Community Levy

1200-1330 Lunch break (ECOWAS Patio)

1330-1600 DES-Integration Programs: Infrastructure, Industry
and Private Sector Development, Human Development
(Education), Agricultural and Rural Development, and
Information and Communications.

1600-1700 DES-Policy Harmonization: Trade Promotion, and
Trade Negotiations

1700-1720 West African Civil Society Forum presentation

1720 Guest donor comments and Dr. Chambas' closing remarks

1900-2200 Evening formal dinner (Location to be determined).
End Agenda.

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