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Cablegate: Brazzaville in Brief, 2 November 2007

VZCZCXRO6649
RR RUEHBZ
DE RUEHBZ #0439/01 3061519
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 021519Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY BRAZZAVILLE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0813
INFO RUEHBZ/AMEMBASSY BRAZZAVILLE 0900

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BRAZZAVILLE 000439

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
DEPT FOR AF/C SWAN, DESK OFFICER BARGERON, AF/EX PMO MARTINEZ; AF/C PLEASE PASS TO OFDA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: AEMR PGOV EAID PINR PHUM SCUL MARR ECON CF
SUBJECT: BRAZZAVILLE IN BRIEF, 2 NOVEMBER 2007


1. (U) The Renaissance Man: President Denis Sassou-Nguesso
proclaimed in his state of the nation address that the Republic
of Congo (RoC) is now in a full renaissance mode. Addressing
Parliament on October 27, the President stated "The renaissance
of the Congo is a visible, concrete and tangible ambition~ that
our people see and touch on a daily basis." Presenting a long
list of projects that have been completed this past year, the
President failed to acknowledge that the completed projects were
not financed by his government, but rather by other nations.
There was no mention of what the other nations received in
exchange for the projects, no references to outstanding debts or
recent meetings with the World Bank. He listed future projects
that have very recently been signed with the People's Republic
of China (PRC) and said that during this coming year his
administration will secure a social security/retirement fund,
pay the unpaid salaries of state officials, recruit 4,000 health
and teaching staff, renovate 500 classrooms and the Brazzaville
main hospital (CHU), complete the national census, and provide
free anti-retroviral medications to HIV-positive Congolese. He
noted that RoC has renewed positive bilateral relations with
France, Namibia, Brazil, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and
United Arab Emirates. Omitted was mention of the United States
(again), the United Nations (again) or the European Union
(except for a bleat about blocking Congolese sugar exports). In
spite of these promises, the only announcement that received
applause was that National Day would be held in the city of
Brazzaville for the next two years (Comment. This is a change
from the practice of choosing a city each year. Brazzaville had
already been the 2008 designee-requiring two years for the
modernization is one indication of the sorry state of
infrastructure in the capital. End comment.) The President is
currently on his annual pilgrimage to his birthplace in Oyo to
commemorate the death of his mother. As is always the case this
time of year, there are predictions of changes in government,
including a Cabinet reshuffle, in the offing.

2. (U) The Thirteenth Summit of the Economic Community of
Central African States (CEAAC) opened October 30 and was
attended by Omar Bongo Ondimba of Gabon, Joseph Kabila Kabange
of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Fradique de Menezes of
Sao Tomi et Principe, and Frangois Bozizi of Central Africa
Republic. Cameroon, Angola, Burundi and Equatorial Guinea were
represented by their prime ministers. In his opening address,
President Denis Sassou-Nguesso said the CEAAC members must focus
on security and economic stability and must drop barriers that
prohibit trading and free movement. The formal agenda included:
the status of negotiations between the countries of Central
Africa and the European Union (EU); signing an economic
partnership agreement; drafting a master plan of transportation
in the region; and developing and enforcing a Free Trade Area.
Joseph Kabila Kabangui of DRC was appointed the new chairman
while RoC Louis Silvain-Ngoma remains the secretary general.

3. (U) The RoC Constitutional Court released its decision
regarding the 19 cases claiming mismanagement of the June and
August legislative elections: four cases were considered to have
merit and elections will be rescheduled in those districts. The
other 15 cases were dismissed for lack of evidence. Cases
dismissed included the complaint filed by Alain Akouala-Atipault
against Guy Gantsio Gambou (Plateaux); Jean Adidi against Andri
Kissangui (Sangha) and Niciphore Fylla Saint Eudes against the
electoral Administration of Poto Poto, the President's district.
Opposition rumors are now saying that Alain Akouala-Atipault,
currently the Minister of Communication, will now lose his
Cabinet seat to Claudia Lemboumba, President Sassou's daughter
who currently serves as President's Adviser on Public Relations.


4. (U) Emile Ouosso, Minister of Transports, announced a plan to
replace the grounded Antonovs. The GRoC will rent aircraft, two
Boeing and two Embrauer, from South Africa, until purchase can
be finalized.

5. (U) Three People's Republic of China (PRC) companies were
selected to construct 1,000 new homes in the Brazzaville area.
Jean Jacques Bouya, Ministry of Public Works, announced that the
Beijing Construction Engineering Group, the International
Economic and Technical Cooperative of Weil Hai, and China
Jiangsu Cooperation will build the low-income homes in
conjunction with an urban master plan first started in 1982.

6. (U) Gregory Moua Likibi, Ministry of Tourism, presided over a
workshop to implement multilateral environmental agreements with
local NGOs and environment groups to identify common needs and
goals and improve the management of the environment.

7. (U) Heavy rains in Brazzaville: A headsup for the Department
and OFDA. The monsoon season has hit Brazzaville with full force
and Embassy has begun inspecting various neighborhoods that are
perennial victims of high waters. We anticipate the likelihood
of requesting OFDA funds for emergency relief. Last year, we
were the sole diplomatic mission to respond, and joined with our
NGO partner, IPHD and Texaco to get direct relief to 560

BRAZZAVILL 00000439 002 OF 002


families made destitute.
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