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Cablegate: Tanzania: Foreign Minister Briefs Diplomats On

VZCZCXRO5174
PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHDR #1055/01 2101201
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 291201Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY DAR ES SALAAM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6522
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA PRIORITY 3232
RUEHJB/AMEMBASSY BUJUMBURA PRIORITY 2566
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA PRIORITY 3048
RUEHLGB/AMEMBASSY KIGALI PRIORITY 0993
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0324
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI PRIORITY 0726
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0232
RUEHTC/AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE PRIORITY 1068

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 DAR ES SALAAM 001055

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT AF/E FOR BYODER, RMEYERS; AF/RSA FOR MBITTRICK
ALSO ADDIS ABABA FOR AU MISSION
PARIS, LONDON FOR AFRICA WATCHERS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL MOPS PHUM TZ
SUBJECT: TANZANIA: FOREIGN MINISTER BRIEFS DIPLOMATS ON
THE COMOROS CRISIS AND NEW AFRICAN UNION COURT IN ARUSHA


SUMMARY
--------
1. (SBU) Foreign Minister Bernard Membe briefed the European
and Americas diplomatic corps recently on the deepening
crisis in the Union of the Comoros and requested proactive
diplomatic efforts to resolve the issue. Membe announced
that at the African Union (AU) meeting in Accra (July 2-3),
Arusha had been confirmed as the site for a continent-wide
African court that could accept appeals cases, human rights
cases and indictments against former dictators. He followed
the announcement with a fundraising appeal to donors to
assist with both renovating existing facilities in
Arusha--currently home to the International Criminal Tribunal
on Rwanda (ICTR) and the East African Community (EAC)
headquarters--and constructing a new "monumental" judicial
complex to serve as Africa's continental court. End Summary.

Defiance in Anjouan
-------------------
2. (SBU) Minister Membe recounted briefly for the diplomatic
corps how the crisis in Comoros has deepened over the past
four months. On April 14, 2007, when the term of President
Mohamed Bacar of Anjouan expired, he refused to leave office
and to allow an interim president to be named until new
elections were held. Beginning in early May, all signs or
insignia related to the government of the Union of Comoros
were removed from official buildings in Anjouan. The Union
radio station was taken over by Anjouan officials and several
radio staff arrested. The small Union army contingent on
Anjouan was attacked by militia forces resulting in one Union
fatality. When the Comoros Union President Ahmed Abadallah
Sambi attempted to fly into Anjouan June 5 to meet directly
with Bacar and discuss the elections, his plane was unable to
land because the airstrip was blocked by trucks.

AU efforts to resolve the crisis
--------------------------------
3. (SBU) In this defiant mode, Anjouan's President Bacar
insisted that Anjouan's elections take place on June 10 even
though the Union government had decided the elections should
be one week later on June 17, to allow time for the official
ballots, ballot boxes and AU monitors to be in place. Bacar
ignored the request, printed his own ballots, held the
elections June 10 and declared himself the victor by 90
percent of the vote. Membe said the AU then appointed a
special committee composed of Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique,
Mauritius, Madagascar, South Africa and the Seychelles to
"find a way forward" to resolve the crisis. Following a
meeting in South Africa, the AU committee issued the
following communique:

- the African Union has declared the June 10
elections in Anjouan as a non-event;
- elections should be rerun before the end of
July 2007;
- the results of the new election must be
acknowledged by all parties involved;
- the international community needs to put
pressure on Anjouan's Bacar to comply;

4. (SBU) Although the AU special committee sent an envoy to
deliver the communique in person, Bacar did not agree to new
elections and claimed that the June 10 results will stand
until the constitution of the Union of the Comoros "undergoes
a full review." Membe made the appeal that it is now crucial
for the international community to exert full diplomatic
influence to reach and reason with Bacar in order to turn the
situation around. Minister Membe stressed: "The AU does not
want to use military force in Anjouan as there are basically
only innocent civilians left on the island; we must employ
all diplomatic resources at our disposal."

5. (SBU) When asked if economic sanctions would be among
those resources, Membe replied that the AU request to re-run
the elections during July coupled with a full press on the
diplomatic front is the current course of action to get
Mohamed Bacar to comply. Should this course of action not
succeed "economic sanctions should not be ruled out," Membe

DAR ES SAL 00001055 002 OF 002


said.

African Court in Arusha
-----------------------
6. (U) Minister Membe confirmed that the African Union has
chosen Arusha as the site of an AU-sponsored continental
African court. This institution is envisioned to serve as a
continent-wide appeals court as well as to prosecute human
rights abusers, former dictators and persons accused of
inciting coups. Since the ICTR's activities are winding
down, the initial plan would be to renovate the current
ICTR/EAC facilities in Arusha at the cost of approximately
USD 17 million. Membe emphasized, however, the long term
plan is to construct a new edifice "worthy of representing
the continent of Africa" and that the GOT will be looking for
support from "all your capitals." He added that once the
architectural design for a new complex is completed "you can
expect we will be knocking at your doors." The
representative of the German Embassy responded to Minister
Membe's appeal on-the-spot by pledging one million Euro
toward constructing the new court.

Comments
--------
7. (SBU) While Minister Membe's two briefing points may have
appeared unrelated, in reality, once an African court is in
place and fully functional, it could potentially serve as a
forum to resolve constitutional and other disputes--such as
the current stalemate in Union of the Comoros--if indeed all
AU members would agree to accept the decisions of such a
judicial body. In post's view, while the ICTR/EAC complex
and conference center in Arusha appears to be in need of some
renovations and remodeling, a USD 17 million price tag for
this effort struck most of the donors at Membe's briefing as
steep, particularly if immediately followed by a serious GOT
fundraising campaign to build a brand new African court
complex.

8. (SBU) Many members of the diplomatic corps were under the
impression that the MFA briefing concerned Zimbabwe.
Minister Membe apologized more than once that the notices
from MFA about the briefing had mentioned Zimbabwe as a
topic. He noted that the Southern African Development
Cooperation (SADC) Organ on Politics, Defence and Security
would be meeting at the ministerial level in early August in
Dar es Salaam to hear an update on President Mbeki's
reconciliation efforts among Zimbabwe's political parties.
Thus Membe could not make any comments on the progress of
SADC's Zimbabwe initiative until the conclusion of that
ministerial.
RETZER

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