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Cablegate: Cote D'ivoire: Contingency Planning for Guinean Refugees

P 061242Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY ABIDJAN
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5422
INFO ECOWAS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS ABIDJAN 000581


SIPDIS

STATE FOR PRM

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREF PHUM PREL PGOV GV IV
SUBJECT: COTE D'IVOIRE: CONTINGENCY PLANNING FOR GUINEAN REFUGEES

REF: A. STATE 103110
B. SALSETH-PRM EMAIL 10/6/09


1. (SBU) On October 6, Poloff spoke to representatives from
the Ivoirian government agency for refugees (SAARA), the UN
High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and the UN Office for
the Coordinator of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) about possible
repercussions of the crisis in Guinea. All three
organizations think it is highly unlikely that Guinean
refugees will cross over into Cote d'Ivoire. In the event
that there is widespread migration to Cote d'Ivoire, however,
OCHA is the only organization with an updated contingency
plan specifically developed for Guinea (Ref B).

2. (U) SAARA representative Giahouan Jean Cyriaque said his
organization is not expecting to receive Guinean refugees at
this time. The likelihood of refugees crossing into Cote
d'Ivoire is slim, he said, given that the events in Conakry
are taking place quite far from the Ivoirian border. Even if
the situation worsens, Cyriaque said SAARA expects no more
than 1,000 refugees. (Note: Although SAARA actively monitors
the western border with Liberia through an office in Guiglo,
it has no office or representatives based in northern Cote
d'Ivoire as a result of the crisis.)

3. (SBU) UNHCR Country Representative Eusebe Hounsokou also
believed it was highly unlikely that Cote d'Ivoire would be
affected by recent events in Guinea. In the event of a
crisis, Hounsokou said UNHCR headquarters would probably fly
a team in from Geneva to assist, as there are only 8 officers
and 12 local staff working for UNHCR-Cote d'Ivoire.
Hounsokou said the UNCHR contingency plan for Guinea needs to
be updated, but this would be carried out by his replacement,
who is currently in the process of being confirmed for the
position. Hounsokou retires this month.

4. (SBU) OCHA Head of Office Julie Belanger provided Poloff
with the latest OCHA contingency plan for Guinea (Ref B).
The plan takes into account migration flows of up to 50,000
people, though Belanger said she also finds it unlikely that
Guinean refugees will come to Cote d'Ivoire as a result of
the current situation. If they do, she said that the
Ivoirian government will not allow camps to be created, as it
prefers to house refugees with local communities.


STANLEY

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