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Cablegate: Gon Road Show to Argue Case to Ecowas States

VZCZCXRO2272
RR RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHNM #0840 3011000
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 281000Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY NIAMEY
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5409
INFO RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 1685
RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEHLMC/MCC WASHDC

UNCLAS NIAMEY 000840

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

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM SOCI PHUM NG
SUBJECT: GON Road Show to Argue Case to ECOWAS States

Ref: Abuja 01947

1. On October 26, President Tandja deployed a delegation headed by
Prime Minister (PM) Ali Badjo Gamatie to various West African
states. The Government of Niger (GON) stated Gamatie would lead a
nine-member delegation with a primary responsibility to "explain the
political situation of Niger to West African state leaders." This
move by President Tandja comes in response to the October 21 ECOWAS
decision to impose sanctions on Niger (reftel). Gamatie flew to
Bamako on October 26, to hand-deliver a message on behalf of
President Tandja to his Malian counterpart. Modibo Sidibe, Malian
Prime Minister, met Gamatie at the airport.

2. (U) The delegation headed to West African capitals comprises
several close aides of President Tandja, including former PM Seini
Oumarou; Economic, Social and Cultural Council President Cheiffou
Amadou; Minister of Communications and Government Spokesperson
Kassoum Mamane Moctar; and Moctar's predecessor, Mohamed Ben Omar.

3. (U) PM Gamatie's delegation list included:

-- Mamane Oumarou, Mediator of the Republic;

-- Cheffou Amadou, President of the Economic, Social, and Cultural
Council (CESOC);

-- Hamid Algabid, President of the High Council of Territorial
Collectivities;

-- Seini Oumarou, former Prime Minister and MNSD President;

-- Kassoum Mamane Moctar, Minister of Communication and Government
Spokesperson;

-- Sanoussi Jackou, former professor, minister, and
parliamentarian;

-- Mohamed Ben Omar, former Minister of Communication and Government
Spokesperson;

-- Seybou Almoustapha, Deputy Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister;
and

-- Mahamadou Aboubacar, Foreign Ministry Director of African
Bilateral Cooperation.

3. (U) Comment: Over the past few days, the GON has shown
willingness to engage with international bodies. Since the
announcement of the ECOWAS decision to suspend Niger, key GON
officials, such as Foreign Minister Mindaoudou, reacted in a
conciliatory tone, expressing the GON's disposition to respond to
the ECOWAS mediator's anticipated call for discussion. This comes
in stark contrast to statements made leading up to the legislative
elections, where President Tandja and GON officials indicated Niger
could do without the international community. The GON now seeks to
convince its neighbors that the demise of its democracy is
"misunderstood." One media source labeled the mission as "a
campaign to explain." End comment.

ALLEN

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