Search

 

Cablegate: Niger: Opposition Party Leaders Call On Ambassador

VZCZCXRO6396
RR RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHNM #0633/01 2442008
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 012008Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY NIAMEY
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5289
INFO RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 1653
RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEHLMC/MCC WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 NIAMEY 000633

DEPT FOR AF/W AND AF/RSA; PLS PASS TO USAID FOR AFR/W
ACCRA ALSO FOR USAID/WA
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU - J MAYBURY
PARIS FOR AFRICA WATCHER

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM SOCI PHUM NG
SUBJECT: Niger: Opposition Party Leaders Call on Ambassador

Ref: a) Niamey 630 b) Niamey 618 c) Niamey 609
d) Niamey 596 e) Niamey 584 f) Niamey 531
g) Niamey 375

NIAMEY 00000633 001.2 OF 002


1. (SBU) Summary: On September 1, Nigerien Party for Democracy and
Socialism (PNDS) representatives, Niger's main opposition party, met
with Ambassador Allen to discuss the country's current political
developments. Embassy Political Assistant (note taker) also
participated in the meeting. The PNDS leaders aired concerns about
recent police violence against opposition supporters and denounced
several violations of rights and democratic principles committed by
the Government of Niger (GON). They called on the U.S. Government
and the international community at large to support strong action
against the GON at the upcoming extraordinary summit of Economic
Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Heads of States and
Government scheduled for September 5 in Abuja, Nigeria. Ambassador
inquired about recent reports of fissures within the CFDR, such as
reports that some parties will participate in the announced October
20 legislative elections. She asked for thoughts about Tandja's
current visit to Libya, his first "official" travel out of the
country since March 2008. (Note: Tandja did travel outside of Niger
for medical treatment within the last year. End note.) End
summary.

2. (SBU) On September 1, PNDS Vice President Bazoum Mohamed,the
former National Assembly Third Vice President and a former Foreign
Minister and PNDS Deputy Secretary General Hassoumi Massaoudou,
former parliamentarian and a former Minister of Communication, met
with Ambassador Allen at the Embassy. The discussion centered
around the current political situation in Niger, and ways to press
President Tandja to return the country to the democratic track.
Following is a summary of the observations made by the two
opposition figures.

3. (SBU) Mohamed, who added that he and Massaoudou were speaking on
behalf of the opposition coalition, Coordination of Forces for
Democracy and the Republic (CFDR), extended the CFDR's appreciation
for the State Department's "clear, unequivocal stance taken through
its August 13 statement rejecting the August 4 constitutional
referendum." Further, he denounced the police repression used to
quash an opposition rally on August 30 (ref a) and added that it was
the most violent actions taken by security authorities since the
beginning of the political crisis. He emphasized that the GON has a
"dogged hatred" against the opposition, notably after the August 4
referendum. He stated, "Even people like the Prime Minister who,
pre-referendum, had been mostly moderate and lukewarm have become
aggressive in criticizing the opposition."

4. (SBU) Regarding the announced October 20 legislative elections,
Mohamed pointed out that some of the smaller political parties
joined the Presidential camp because they believe that a boycott by
stronger parties like PNDS, CDS, and ANDP will make it easier for
the smaller parties to obtain some seats in the National Assembly.
He reasserted the opposition stance that it "will not condone a coup
and not give in to intimidation." He opined that "under Tandja's
new plan, there will not be fair and transparent elections as we
know them." He emphasized that there are no credible institutions to
guarantee fair and transparent elections because "the new
Constitutional Court, the Independent National Election Commission
(CENI), and the High Council for Communication (CSC) cannot be
trusted.

5. (SBU) Mohamed viewed the recent French statements "taking note"
of the August 4 referendum and asking the parties to sit down and
negotiate the terms for the announced October 20 National Assembly
elections as unsupportive to the opposition's attempts to restore
democracy. He was especially concerned about the possibility that
the French may influence the European Union (EU) in reconsidering
the firm position it has taken previously. He urged the USG, the
EU, ECOWAS, and the international community at large to adopt "a
posture of non-recognition of any institutions derived from Tandja's
constitution. He said, "The struggle may be long, but in the end
we, the opposition, will win." Mohamed suggested that even the
military and other security forces "may join democratic forces and
act in order to restore the democratic framework", if they see a
lack of support in the international community for the Tandja
regime.
6. (SBU) Mohamed was encouraged that Nigeria, unlike some ECOWAS
countries, has shown "great determination" in support for

NIAMEY 00000633 002.2 OF 002


constitutional order in Niger. However, he deplored the "low level"
of the ECOWAS delegation that visited Niger on August 30-31 (ref a),
and the Nigerian Deputy Foreign Minister's allegations in an
interview in Hausa that "Niger's opposition does not wish sanctions
against their country." (Note: The Nigerian Ambassador, who has
been in country two months, is still waiting to present his
credentials to the GON. End note.)

7. (SBU) Mohamed expressed concern over President Tandja's trip to
Libya on August 30. He suggested that Tandja would seek
opportunities during the AU Summit on conflict and climate change
and the Libyan leader's celebration of 40 years in power, together
with his current incumbency as AU Chairman, to lobby for support.
He urged the U.S. to support ECOWAS and urge Nigerian President Yar
Adua "who has shown signs of firmness about the situation in Niger"
to hold on to his position. He also suggested that, in light of
President Obama's speech during his recent visit to Ghana that
Ghananian President Mills also may be a useful ally. He recommended
that the USG use its influence in the International Financial
Institutions (IFIs) as a pressure point, suggested that the IFIs
should be "monitor the GON's extravagant spending."

8. (SBU) Massaoudou commented that during the August 4 referendum,
the Office of the Army Chief of Staff created an "election
monitoring team" which noted "only a 5 percent voter turnout."
According to him, the monitoring team also reported that 89 percent
of the army voted against the referendum. He concluded that "this is
a clear indication that contradicts the army's alleged support for
the President's continuation plan." He downplayed reports of
dissensions within the CFDR. He said that the opposition's
stronghold is made up four larger political parties: PNDS, CDS,
ANDP, and MODEN Lumana.

9. (SBU) Ambassador thanked the CFDR representatives for the visit,
assured them that the USG still supports efforts to return Niger on
a democratic path. She added it is important for African
institutions such as ECOWAS and the AU take a more active role to
defend democracy in Niger, the sub-region and the continent. She
closed the meeting by stating she would convey the CFDR message to
Washington and noted that the USG has a keen interest in actions
that result from the upcoming ECOWAS extraordinary summit in Abuja.


ALLEN

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

UN: Violations Of Palestinian Rights Puts Two-State Solution At Risk, Chief Warns
The situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, continues to pose a significant challenge to international peace and security, United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, said on Monday... More>>



Oxfam: Afghanistan Faces Multiple Crises

ActionStation, Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand, Christian World Service, Oxfam Aotearoa and World Vision New Zealand say that while Afghanistan faces chronic poverty, persistent droughts, war, the Covid-19 pandemic and an economic crisis, winter is about to bring a whole new set of challenges...More>>

AFTINET: New COVID Strain Postpones WTO Meeting

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Meeting scheduled for November 30-December 3 has been postponed indefinitely because the new Omicron strain of the COVID-19 virus in African countries with low vaccination rates prevents many African and other delegations from attending the meeting...
More>>


Focus On: UN SDGs

Food: Three Billion People Cannot Afford A Healthy Diet

Approximately three billion people, almost 40 per cent of the world’s population, cannot afford a healthy diet and another one billion people would join their ranks should further unpredictable events reduce incomes by one-third, the UN food agency said, launching a new report on Tuesday... More>>

COP26: Enough Of ‘Treating Nature Like A Toilet’ – Guterres Brings Stark Call For Climate Action To Glasgow
As the World Leaders Summit opened on day two of COP26, UN chief António Guterres sent a stark message to the international community. “We are digging our own graves”, he said, referring to the addiction to fossil fuels which threatens to push humanity and the planet, to the brink, through unsustainable global heating... More>>


Climate: ‘Vague’ Net Zero Promises Not Enough: Planet Still On Track For Catastrophic Heating, UN Report Warns

New and updated commitments made ahead of the pivotal climate conference COP26 in the past months are a positive step forward, but the world remains on track for a dangerous global temperature rise of at least 2.7°C this century even if fully met, a new report by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has warned... More>>