Cablegate: Ecowas or Eu-Cowas: Accreditation and Influence At
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS ABUJA 001999
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL ECIN MARR ODIP NI ECOWAS
SUBJECT: ECOWAS OR EU-COWAS: ACCREDITATION AND INFLUENCE AT
REF: ABUJA 1671
1. Summary. The recently concluded ECOWAS donors
conference highlighted a disparity in influence at the
Secretariat between accredited observers and non-accredited
donors. The ability of the EU to direct the conference
agenda and to dominate the attention of ECOWAS was
remarkable, and there does not seem to be any bloc to
balance this influence. End Summary.
2. The following diplomatic missions are accredited to
ECOWAS as observers: Germany, Cuba, Spain, France, Italy,
Sweden, Russia, Greece, Canada, China, Belgium, Finland,
Switzerland, South Africa, Ireland, Netherlands, Denmark,
India, and UNHCR. The European Commission recommended that
all member states pursue accreditation, and only the UK and
Norway have failed to do so.
3. The European Commission delegation in Abuja has three
diplomatic officers who work primarily on ECOWAS issues.
The amount of influence this brings them with the Executive
Secretariat was obvious during the donors conference. The
published agenda was changed shortly before the conference
to include a half-day session on the Short-Term Action Plan
(STAP) based on a request from the EC. This change
constituted a full quarter of the agenda, and detracted from
the time initially allocated to Political Affairs, Defense,
and Security, which was initially supposed to be the primary
focus of the conference (reftel). The Canadian High
Commissioner commented that there seemed to be no effective
counterbalance to this European influence. His deputy made
a game of counting the number of times someone from the
Secretariat made a point of thanking the EU.