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Cablegate: Qadhafi's Road Trip Through Guinea

VZCZCXRO9577
PP RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHRY #0736 1801219
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 291219Z JUN 07
FM AMEMBASSY CONAKRY
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1314
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS CONAKRY 000736

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL EAID LY GV
SUBJECT: QADHAFI'S ROAD TRIP THROUGH GUINEA

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Libyan leader Mu'ammar Qadhafi's road
trip to the AU Summit in Accra brought him through Guinea for
48 hours. Guineans celebrated Qadhafi's visit with a
national holiday as they looked forward to new promises of
aid for Guinea, which Qadhafi gave. On its side of the
promise, Guinea announced its support for Qadhafi's United
States of Africa. Guinea's cabinet came out with a strong
show of support for the Libyan delegation, accompanying them,
by road, across the country. To the Guinean military, the
visit was seen as a victory for the hale and hearty Prime
Minister over the infirm Conte. END SUMMARY

2. (U) On June 24, Libyan leader Mu'ammar Qadhafi arrived in
Conakry to pay a visit to Guinean President Lansana Conte, as
part of his road trip to the AU summit in Accra. However,
the visit turned out to be more of a showcase for Prime
Minister Kouyate and his cabinet than Conte. Qadhafi was
welcomed at the Malian border by Kouyate and several of his
ministers and then drove to Conakry, where he was welcomed by
President Conte. In honor of the visit, Monday was declared
a holiday, "Qadhafi Day," so that everyone could attend a
rally/speech at the national stadium in Conakry.

3. (U) At the rally, Kouyate pledged his (and Conte's)
support for Qadhafi's "United States of Africa," which the
Libyans are pushing while making their way to the Summit.
Kouyate stated that Guinea would be willing to give up some
sovereignty in favor of integration into the proposed U.S. of
Africa. As for Qadhafi, while his speech sounded the now
familiar theme of support for African integration, he also
blamed the ills of the continent on others. The Libyan
leader did offer new promises of aid to Guinea.

4. (U) Qadhafi promised several hundred thousand dollars in
aid for projects in the energy sector, the construction of
housing, and support for agricultural development projects in
Guinea. He also promised to help with restoration of a
pineapple factory project in Salguidia, new uniforms for the
military, as well as cooperation between their Central Banks
to help stabilize the Guinea Franc.

5. (SBU) COMMENT. This visit was Kouyate's second Libyan
connection in the last few weeks. Earlier this month,
Kouyate stopped in Libya just before beginning his U.S.
visit. Military sources report that Guinean soldiers saw the
visit as a victory for Kouyate. Kouyate enjoyed significant
face time with the Libyan leader and widespread press
coverage. During Qadhafi's visit with Conte, the Guinean
President could only stand for 3 or 4 seconds during the
meeting before collapsing back into his chair. Qadhafi's
visit was his first to this part of Africa in a long time.
His speech did not reveal anything new, and it remains to be
seen if Qadhafi will deliver on his promises. Many Guineans
expressed some doubt about real support for Guinea, instead
seeing the trip as more of a PR event for an ideology of the
past, a notion no doubt reinforced when Qadhafi referred to
Guinea using the name the country went by during Sekou Toure
era. We will continue to follow the relationship between
Kouyate and Qadhafi. In his outreach to non-traditional
partners, Kouyate seems determined to get help any way he
can. END COMMENT.
KAEUPER

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