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Cablegate: Cote D'ivoire: Uk On Elections, Ddr, And

VZCZCXRO4913
PP RUEHPA
DE RUEHLO #2899 3241548
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 191548Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY LONDON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0452
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHAB/AMEMBASSY ABIDJAN PRIORITY 0146
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 3318

C O N F I D E N T I A L LONDON 002899

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/19/2018
TAGS: PREL KDEM PGOV IV FR UK
SUBJECT: COTE D'IVOIRE: UK ON ELECTIONS, DDR, AND
RE-ENERGIZING THE PROCESS

REF: A. PARIS 2101
B. ABIDJAN 803
C. ABIDJAN 815

Classified By: Acting Political Counselor Jim Donegan, reasons 1.4 (b/d ).

1. (C) Summary. The UK "does not buy into" the French view that Cote d'Ivoire's elections were delayed for technical reasons, and HMG thinks elections could have taken place on time, albeit with some technical problems, had there been the political will, FCO West Africa Team Leader Jonathan Drew told us November 18. He regretted that the UN's Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR) program had been put aside until after the elections, noting that the prolonged presence of weapons throughout the country increased the chances of a return to violence. Drew suggested a meeting of Cote d'Ivoire's international partners, possibly P-3 plus UN, would re-energize the fatigued French on Cote d'Ivoire and give the capable but under-staffed SRSG advice and a concrete way forward. End Summary.

The Problem is Political Will -----------------------------

2. (C) Saying that elections in Cote d'Ivoire would have taken place on time if the government had had the political will, FCO West Africa Team Leader Jonathan Drew told poloff November 18 that HMG "does not buy into" the French idea that the delays are technical and suggested that the French are becoming "fatigued" on Cote d'Ivoire. He noted that none of the additional income from windfall oil revenues went to the electoral commission and cautioned that continued delay would cause problems in Cote d'Ivoire itself as democracy was being deferred.

And What About DDR? -------------------

3. (C) Drew also regretted that the UN's DDR program had been delayed until after the elections. The mere prolonged presence of weapons throughout the country increased the chances of a return to violence. Drew noted that neither the French nor the UN had been considering how to integrate the DDR program into the electoral timeline calculus. DDR, for the UK, is a concern for the whole region.

International Meeting to Re-Energize Efforts --------------------------------------------

4. (C) Drew suggested that Cote d'Ivoire's international partners, possibly P-3 plus the UN, should meet. In HMG's estimation, United Nations SRSG Y. G. Choi is good, but does not have a capable staff. An international meeting, even if it is fairly low-key, would serve the dual purpose of re-energizing the French and give the SRSG a concrete way forward. Given the UN's unique responsibility to certify the fairness of the elections, it is also important to get the political parties to sign off on the electoral process at each critical juncture.

Comment -------

5. (C) Drew admits that HMG's interests in Cote d'Ivoire are regional. HMG is not in a position to take a leading role in Cote d'Ivoire, but is interested in making sure democratization moves forward in order to help cement regional stability. Visit London's Classified Website: XXXXXXXXXXXX
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